Ninety-five percent (95%) of all money printed in the United States each year is used to replace money already in circulation. The currency and coin supplies are also taken out of service by collectors. On an average day, approximately 38 million pieces of paper currency are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing which would amount to a face value of around $541 million dollars being added to the economy every day, if it weren’t for the fact that most money printed replaces old, worn out currency already circulating.
Depending on the bill’s monetary denomination, paper currency doesn’t last as long as you might think. Larger denominations like $100 and $50 bills can expect to last up to around nine years, whereas lower denominations like the $1 and $5 bills will only last around two years. Surprisingly, the $1 bill constitutes 48% of all paper currency produced in America by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing every year.
The first paper currency that was ever produced was printed in denominations of one cent, five cents, twenty-five cents and fifty cents. After the Civil War, people started hoarding coins because the war caused huge fluctuations in the value of things purchased with money, but coins were made of precious metals like gold and silver and retained their value, so people started saving them because of their value in metal.
Today coins are generally made of copper and some other metal like nickel or zinc and paper currency consists of 75% cotton fibers and 25% linen, with red and blue fibers of varying lengths evenly distributed through the paper. Silk was used to create these fibers prior to World War I.
The only woman’s face that has been used on United States currency was that of Susan B Anthony and Martha Washington, where her portrait was included on the front of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891 and on the back side of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1896. Although paper currency bears the signatures of four black men and one black woman who served as Registers of the Treasury (James C. Napier, William T. Vernon, Judson W. Lyons, Blanche K. Bruce and Azie Taylor Morton), there has never been a black person’s portrait featured on American currency, but coins were issued around 1940 that included the images of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver and, more recently, a coin featuring the likeness of Jackie Robinson was created.