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A HISTORY OF AMERICAN PAPER MONEY
FROM COLONIAL BILLS TO SILVER AND GOLD CERTIFICATES TO EVEN A $100,000 NOTE, AMERICAN PAPER MONEY HAS UNDERGONE MANY CHANGES THROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY.
1690 COLONIAL BILLS
The Massachusetts Bay Colony issues the first paper currency to pay for military expedition costs. Other colonies soon follow this practice.
1775 CONTINENTAL CONGRESS CURRENCY
Paper money is issues by the Continental Congress to finance the Revolutionary Way.
1781 FIRST NATIONAL BANK
The Congress charters The Bank of North America, in Philadelphia, as the first national bank.
1785 THE U.S. DOLLAR
Congress sets the dollar as the monetary unit of the United States.
1791 FIRST U.S. CENTRAL BANK
Congress licenses the first Bank of the United States for a 20-year term as a fiscal entity for the U.S. Treasury.
1792 FEDERAL MONETARY SYSTEM
Federal Monetary System is established with the creation of the U.S. Mint.
1816 SECOND U.S. CENTRAL BANK
Congress charters the second U.S. Central bank for the 1816-1836 period.
1836 FREE BANKING ERA
Private banks issue their own paper currency, as there was no formal U.S. central bank and minimum regulation. Bank notes are easily counterfeited.
1861 CIVIL WAR "GREENBACKS"
In an effort to finance the Civil War, the Congress authorizes the U.S. Treasury to issue paper month in the form of "Demand Notes", also called "greenbacks".
1862 FIRST $2, $50, AND $100 BILLS MADE AS LEGAL TENDER NOTES.
Legal Tender Notes, or U.S. Notes replaced Demand Notes and were made from 1862 to 1971
1865 ESTABLISHMENT OF U.S. SECRET SERVICE
The U.S. Secret Service is created as a bureau of the Treasury to prevent counterfeiting and protect the national currency.
1877 BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING
All U.S. currency begins to be printed by the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing
1878 FIRST SILVER CERTIFICATES
Silver certificates start being issued in exchange for silver dollars.
1882 FIRST GOLD CERTIFICATES
Gold certificates entitles holders to a pre-determined amount of gold coins. Used from 1882 to 1933
1913 FEDERAL RESERVE ACT OF 1913
The Federal Reserve System is created to regulate the flow of money. New currency is names Federal Reserve Notes.
1914 LARGE SIZE FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES
$5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes are issued, with a size larger than today's bills.
1918 LARGE SIZE DENOMINATIONS FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES
Yes, they were real! $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 large-size notes were issued for public use. In 1969 all notes greater that $100 were retired due to poor demand.
1929 STANDARDIZED DESIGN
To lower production costs, bill sizes were reduced by 25%, and a consistent design was implemented with uniform portraits on front and emblems or monuments on back.
1934 $100,000 GOLD CERTIFICATES
The highest denomination ever made, these were only used for transactions amongst Federal Reserve banks and were not available to the public.
1957 "IN GOD WE TRUST"
$1 Silver certificated were the first notes to have the motto "In God We Trust".
1990 NEW COUNTERFEIT DETERRENT METHODS
Micro printing and security threads are developed to deter counterfeiters.
REDESIGN OF PAPER MONEY
Multiple advanced counterfeit deterrent methods are implemented, first used on the $100 bill. This was the biggest change on paper currency design since the use of small-sized notes in 1929.
2003-2006 UPDATED SECURITY FEATURES
Improved security features and special background colors are created for the Federal Reserve Notes. The $20 bill was the first one to have these features.
2007 NEW $5 BILL WITH AN ALL DIGITAL DESIGN
This was the first time that paper currency had an all-digital design for improve security methods even further.
2010 NEW $100 BILL DESIGN
The new $100 bill is issued, featuring advanced technology to prevent counterfeiting while retaining the traditional look of American currency.