9. The Secret Service’s Original Secret Service
Back in 1865, counterfeiting was a serious problem and threatened to totally derail the US economy. It was so widespread, in fact, that it was estimated one-third of all bills at the time were counterfeit.
In order to combat the incessant and increasing counterfeiting of paper money, the Secret Service was formed. The Secret Service was tasked with cutting down on the production of counterfeit bills and bringing those responsible to justice. Of course the Secret Service eventually evolved to become the President’s personal security team, a service needed now more than ever.
10. Where It All Began
There was a time when America, like pretty much everywhere else in the world (yes, there are other places) was reliant on coins. While paper money was in use in the United States as far back as 1690, it would be almost 200 years before it became widespread.
In 1862, the US Department of Treasury finally commissioned the mass printing of paper money in an attempt to combat a shortage of coins in circulation.
When you accidentally rip a bill, it’s almost instinctive to throw it into the trash; after an hour or so of crying and pulling your hair out, of course. But you shouldn’t be so quick to write off your mutilated money.
The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing will redeem your torn paper money as long as you can present more than 50% of it intact. In fact, the good folks at the bureau redeem approximately 30,000 damaged bills every year, totaling an estimated value of $30 million.
12. Two Dollars Too Few
For such a small amount of money, the two dollar bill has caused an awful lot of trouble. Its history is long and convoluted and has turned brother against brother and husband against wife. Okay, it hasn’t actually been that controversial, but it has been the subject of some debate over the years.
The two dollar bill was discontinued in 1966 and was out of circulation for just over a decade. It was reintroduced in 1976, though it accounts for less than 2% of notes printed today.
Because of the rarity of two dollar bills, long-sighted entrepreneurs have been known to hoard them, salivating at the thought of their investment someday doubling in value.