U.S. Currency through the Ages

By rmadden
  • Ben Franklin Attempts to Prevent Counterfeiting

    Ben Franklin Attempts to Prevent Counterfeiting
    Franklin printed bills from his printing firm in Philadelphia. He made the colonial bills using real leaves to create a raised print on the bills. This helped to prevent counterfeitor from attempting to recreate the bills.
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    U.S. Currency Through the Ages

  • The Continental Congress's Currency Failure

    The Continental Congress's Currency Failure
    The Continental Congress printed paper bills to pay for the Revolutionary War. However, the money soon lost all of its worth, as it was easily copied by counterfeitors. This event created the saying, "not worth a Continental".
  • First National Bank of the United States

    First National Bank of the United States
    After the war, the new Congress approved decided that the new country needed a bank. The first national bank, The Bank of North America, was located in Philadelphia. This bank helped the new government out with expenses and other monetary responsibilities.
  • The Dollar

    The Dollar
    Eventually, the United States decided to create their own currency. They no longer wished to share England's currency. Thus, the dollar was chosen by Congress to become the American currency.
  • Monetary System

    Monetary System
    In 1972, the Coinage Act was passed. It created the U.S. Mint, which would print and coin all money for the United States. This act also created the federal monetary system, setting values for each coin in various precious metals.
  • Greenbacks

    Paper money was first circulated by the government in the late 1800s. They bills were green in color, just like they are today. Thus, the bills were nicknamed "Greenbacks" by the people of the United States.
  • First $10 Bill

    First $10 Bill
    $10 bill wasn't actually printed until the mid 1800s. They were called Demand Bills. Abraham Lincoln's portrait was used on these bills.
  • Bill Design

    Bill Design
    The bills were designed even more carefully, so that counterfeiting would be harder. Geometric patterns, the treasury seal, fine line engrvaing, and signitures all were all the bills. Ways to prevent counterfeiting have only increased since.
  • Secret Service is Established

    Secret Service is Established
    The secret service was created as part of the Treasury. Their job was to stop people from conterfeiting the bills, as people were starting to distrust the value of the U.S. bills.
  • Last Colored Money Printed

    Last Colored Money Printed
    From this date onward, money was printed without colored backgrounds. This last colored bill was the $20 Gold Certificate. This had a gold background.
  • Federal Reserve Act

    Federal Reserve Act
    This bill created the Federal Reserve, that still exists to this day. The Federal Reserve is the nation's central bank. It controls the money's value, to a certain extent. It created the Federal Reserve Note (our bills today.)
  • Major Bill Size Reduction

    Major Bill Size Reduction
    The U.S. Treasury was set on saving some money. So, they decided to reduce the bill size by about 30%. They also decreased the amount of different designs for the same bill amount. This made it much easier for the public to tell a real bill from a counterfeit.
  • Security Thread and Microprinting

    Security Thread and Microprinting
    Advanced printers were used by the government to further prevent counterfeiters. The first bills to have this new technology were the $100 bills. By 1993, all the bills had security thread and microprinting, except for the $1 and $2.
  • New Design for the Currency

    New Design for the Currency
    The new design was the first change for 67 years. Again, the $100 were the first to be changed. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing decided to change the bill designs every 7-10 years, to challenge counterfeitors even further.
  • New $20 Bill Design- Colored!

    New $20 Bill Design- Colored!
    The government, as always, was determined to stay ahead of possible counterfeitors. They decided to redesign the bills yet again. For the first time since since the $20 Gold Certificate in 1905, the bils were had some background colors, including green, peach, and blue. There were also pictures of eagles.
  • New $50 bill

    New $50 bill
    Just like the $20 bill, this new bill has background colors. It also has many historical symbols. The colors are mostly light blue and red, with an American flag and a small metallic silver-blue star.
  • New $10 Bills

    New $10 Bills
    One of the main changes was a differnent treasurer's signature. Like the other new bills, they added faint colors; orange, yellow and red. Moreover, the new bills had pictures of the Statue of Liberty's torch, and the words We are the People.
  • The New $5

    The New $5
    This bill also was part of the counterfeitor's prevention project. The U.S. Treasury unveiled the $5 dollar bill the next year, through an all-digital unveiling. This new $5 dollar bill was said to be "Safer, Smarter, and More Secure."
  • New $5- FINALLY printed

    New $5- FINALLY printed
    The new $5 bill was finally printed in 2008. It had the same features that had been adopted for the other bills in 1990. This bill was still Safer, Smarter, and more secure, just like the government had promised when it was designed.
  • New $100 Bill

    New $100 Bill
    The new $100 bill was created on April 21. It combined the best and newest technology against counterfeiting. It also keep the traditional U.S. currency look.