National Dollar Day

Lefty Graves

August 8 marks National Dollar Day. In commemoration of the day that the first US dollar was printed in 1862. Congress established the United States monetary system in 1786. One of the most fascinating things about the dollar bill is that it hasn't changed in over 50 years. All other denominations have been updated in one way, shape, or form; however, the dollar bill has remained exactly as it is today for over 50 years.

The dollar bill has remained unchanged for so many years because counterfeiters tend to focus on larger denominations when they're counterfeiting money. There are many unique features on the dollar bill.

One of the more exciting features of the dollar bill is the use of the number 13. The number 13 is quite significant and very prominent on the dollar bill. You won't find it at first glance because it's not shown in numeric form but rather in the steps on the pyramid. This is in the representation of the original 13 colonies. The top of the pyramid is deliberately unfinished to represent that this is a growing and expanding country.

Take a look at the eagle that is opposite the pyramid. You'll find arrows and an olive branch in the eagle's talon. Did you count the arrows? If you did, you should have come up with 13 arrows. Did you notice the constellation above the eagle's head? Go ahead and count the stars; we'll wait.

Did you count 13 stars? Check out the shield that the eagle is holding, and be sure to count the stripes. You should again come up with the number 13. How many more times can you come up with the number 13 on a dollar bill? After you've taken some time and checked your dollar bill over carefully, you can see if you're correct here.

The dollar bill is full of symbolism and contains much information. For example, that picture of George Washington wasn't the original picture on the front of a dollar bill. The first dollar bill had a picture of Salmon P. Chase. Salmon P. Chase was then President Lincoln's Secretary of Treasury.

Another key feature is the fancy scroll work around the dollar bill's edges. This is one of the features that was implemented to help deter counterfeiting. It also won't replicate well on an inkjet printer or a photocopy machine, so it's serving a purpose in addition to looking somewhat decorative.

Each dollar bill has its own unique number. This unique number is printed twice on each dollar bill in green. The olive branches that grace the dollar bill indicate which of the 12 branches of the Federal Reserve issued the particular bill you're holding. For example, if there is an "A," you're holding a dollar bill that was printed in the Atlanta branch. You can find more interesting facts about the dollar bill here.

One fun fact about dollar bills is that you can track a dollar bill by entering the unique serial number on a website called Where's George and see where your dollar bill has been. So all you have to do is enter the unique serial number on the website, which will tell you where your dollar bill has been. This can be a rather entertaining thing to do for youngsters as well as adults.

Fun Facts

  • Until September 3, 1961 minimum wage was set at $1 or less.
  • Dollar bills that have repeating sequences or misprints are the most collectible dollar bills.

So how are you going to celebrate National Dollar Day? Alas, the dollar won't buy you much these days, even at the Dollar Stores, as their prices have recently been raised to $1.25. But at least if you have a dollar, you have a good start on being able to buy something. What can you buy for a dollar today? Make a list and share it with us in the comments. Don't forget to share it on social media with #NationalDollarDay.

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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