Money is a topic that many people have strong opinions on. Some love it, and some hate it.
Money can be the root of all evil or the source of happiness and prosperity.
But what are some facts about money? Is there anything you didn’t know about this abstract concept?
Here are 42 interesting facts about money that’ll surprise you.
#1. UK Coins Can Be Combined to Reveal a Secret Shield Design
UK coins can be stacked so that they form the shape of the shield design from the Royal Coat of Arms1.
#2. Global Debt Is Now Almost 2.5 Times Greater Than the World’s Total Stockpiles of Money
This is an astronomical figure and a sign that there could be some significant financial shocks in the future.
#3. Our Bank Notes Aren’t Made From Trees
Trees aren’t cut down to make our bank notes. They’re made from cotton and linen fibres.
#4. Star Wars, Pokémon, & Frozen Coins Are Legal Tenders on the Island of Niue
Niue2 is a small island country located in the South Pacific Ocean.
It has just one store, and it accepts all three of these coins as payment for goods.
#5. The New English £5 Note Can Play Vinyl Records
This is the first banknote to be printed on polymer, which means it can play vinyl records.
#6. The New English £5 Note Contains Traces of Animal Fat
The new English £50 note contains traces of grease, the rendered fat from animals such as cows or pigs.
#7. North Korea Is the Largest Counterfeiter of US Dollars
North Korea is the world’s largest counterfeiter3 of US dollars.
Estimates say they have produced more than $45 million worth of fake currency, making them a serious threat to global stability and security.
#8. Emerich Juettner Was a Pro at Counterfeiting
German forger Emerich Juettner was the most prolific counterfeiter in history.
He’s estimated to have produced around £150 million worth of forged banknotes.
#9. You Can Make Your Worn Out Money Crisp Again
You can make your worn-out money crisp again by soaking it in Coca-Cola. The acid from the drink will cause a chemical reaction that makes the paper look new.
#10. Money Is Recycled When Worn Out
Recycling is a crucial part of modern life, but it’s even more critical for money.
Money has to be recycled every 18 months or so because the ink starts to wear off from handling and contact with other pieces of paper.
#11. Money Is Dirty
Paper money is a breeding ground for bacteria.
The average banknote carries over twenty types of disease-causing microbes, with high levels of staphylococcus and ecoli found on them.
#12. Germans Used Money as Wallpaper to Stay Warm
During the First World War, Germans used paper money as wallpaper to help keep their homes warm.
They would tear up pieces of banknotes and cover windows with them for insulation.
#13. Only 8% Of the World’s Currency Is Physical Money
Most of the world’s money is digital. We use debit cards and online banking systems to purchase most of our goods and services.
#14. The Ink Used to Print Money Is High Tech
The ink used to print money is high-tech. It contains metal and polymer particles that most counterfeiters can’t detect, which helps maintain the integrity of our currency.
#15. Money Engravers Are Extremely Skilled
Money engravers are skilled craftsmen who need to be able to interpret the complex designs of banknotes.
They can’t just copy them; they have to create something original that’s true to the original design.
#16. Pennies in Your Garden Deter Pests
Pests like snails and slugs love to eat your plants, but pennies can deter them.
The copper in the coins repels these pests because they don’t like the bitter taste.
#17. A Penny Costs More to Manufacture Than It’s Worth
A penny costs more to produce than the coin is worth, which means it’s constantly being created and then recycled.
The metal in a single penny has over one cent worth of value.
#18. The Romans Were the First to Stamp the Image of a Living Person on a Coin
Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus was the first to have his likeness stamped on a coin.
#19: The Study or Collection of Money Is Called “Numismatics”
The study or collection of coins and banknotes is called numismatics. Numismatics has been going on for centuries.
#20. The First Paper Money Was Made in China Over 1,000 Years Ago
The first paper money was made in China over 1000 years ago.
Known as “flying cash,” this form of currency could be folded or cut up into small pieces for easy transportation and use – perfect if you’re on the go.
#21. Some Countries Share a Currency
In some cases, two or more countries share a currency. For example, the Euro is used in seventeen European Union member states and five other neighboring nations.
#22. Icelanders Are the World’s Most Avid Card Users
Icelanders Use Debit & Credit Cards The Most. Iceland has a population of 320,000 people, and yet they use their cards for 80% of all transactions.
#23. The Country With the Worst Inflation in the World Is Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has experienced hyperinflation4, which means its currency is worth so little that it’s essentially worthless.
The inflation rate in Zimbabwe reached a staggering 89,700% per month.
#24. Tea Bricks Were Used as Money in Siberia Until the WW2
In the 1800s, tea bricks were used as money in Eastern Siberia.
These bricks would be traded for other goods and services only – they weren’t legal tender.
#25. Queen Elizabeth II Holds the Record for Appearing on More Currency Than Any Other Person
Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on more currencies than any other person.
She’s featured on the 50-cent coin in many countries and has had her face printed on millions of banknotes.
#26. Over 170 Different Currencies Are Used Around the World Today
There are over 170 different currencies used around the world today.
In other words, you need to know what currency is being accepted in a country before deciding on where you want to go.
#27. Early Romans Used Salt as a Form of Money
Early Romans used salt as a form of money. They would trade it for items they needed or wanted, and the word “salary” actually comes from this practice.
#28. The First Coins Were Made About 2,500 Years Ago
The first coins were made around 2500 years ago and used by the Lydian civilization in Turkey.
There are many theories as to why they started using money. One theory is that these coins served a ceremonial function.
#29. Pablo Escobar Had so Much Money Lying Around That Rats Ate Approximately £1 Billion
Pablo Escobar was a Colombian drug lord who had so much money that he couldn’t spend it all.
When the DEA raided his house, they found £200 million in cash alongside thousands of shopping bags full of clothes and shoes.
#30. The Largest Denomination Ever Printed Was in Hungary in 1946
The largest denomination ever printed was in Hungary in 1946. It’s a 20 pengo banknote, and its worth is equivalent to roughly £30 today.
#31. The Word “Cash” Originated in Ancient China
The word “cash,” as in currency, originated from ancient China.
This is because they would often barter for goods and services using small copper coins known as cash or kai (which was short for the old Chinese words meaning “to scrape together”).
#32. The Word “Cent” Derives From Latin
When referring to a coin or 100th of a unit, the word cent is derived from the Latin word “centum.” In other words, it’s worth one-hundredth of what something costs.
#33. The Term “Cash Cow” Originated From Early Forms of Currency in the Form of Livestock
The term “cash cow” actually originated from early forms of currency in the form of livestock.
For example, if someone had a goat that gave milk, they would say it was their cash cow because they could sell its milk and earn money.
#34. Sea Shells Were Once Commonly Used as Money in Many Parts of the World
Seashells were once commonly used as money in many parts of the world, including India.
The earliest recorded use of the shell currency was by traders on the island of Yap5.
#35. The Average Adult Has Between 8 & 10 Credit Cards
The average adult has between eight and ten cards. Most people don’t like to use more than two or three at any given time.
#36. Walter Cavanagh Has More Than 13,000 Credit Cards
Walter Cavanagh is a Guinness World Record holder who has more than 13,000 credit cards. He’s been collecting them since the early 1970s, and they’re all different colors!
#37. 95% Of the Notes Printed Each Year Replace Those Already in Circulation
Only around 5% of the notes printed each year are brand new. The rest replace those already in circulation.
#38. Paper Bills Are Made of 25% Linen & 75% Cotton
Bill paper is made of 25% linen and 75% cotton. The Bureau of Engraving & Printing6, which produces the notes, uses cellulose fibres to create this solid yet flexible material.
#39. Ridges on Coins Have a Purpose
Ridges on coins have a purpose, and it’s not to make them more accessible for people to hold. This design feature was added to discourage coin clipping.
#40. 85% To 95% Of Paper Money Contains Traces of Cocaine
85% to 95% of paper money contains traces of cocaine.
In its early days, US currency was made with a mix of cotton and linen from the southern United States, where drugs were grown.
#41. 7 Tons of Ink Is Used to Print Money Every Day
Every day, about seven tons of ink is used to print money. This tells you just how much paper currency we’re talking about.
#42. Coins Can Last an Average of 30 Years in Circulation
Coins can last an average of 30 years in circulation. The cash you see is usually made with a metal alloy mix of copper and nickel (nickel being the primary constituent).
How Is Money Created?
Money is created when the government prints it. It’s made of paper or metal, and its value comes from how much people are willing to pay for it.
Who Determines the Money Supply?
The government determines the money supply by printing more when they want more circulation and restricting it if they need to slow down inflation.
What's Legal Tender?
Legal tender is any form of currency that a government has declared should be accepted as payment for debts.
A currency is any form of cash with a value that has been determined by law. In other words, it can be exchanged for goods and services within a country without using another type of payment systems like credit cards or checks.
How Does Inflation Happen?
Inflation happens when there isn’t enough supply relative to the demand for something – so as more people want this thing (like money), prices go up because less will be available! This means that if you have one dollar now, it won’t buy what it could have bought last year.
It’s hard to imagine a world without any money.
The emergence of new technologies will likely change how we interact with cash and credit cards in the future.
Whether you think this is good or bad news, one thing is for sure- our relationship with money has changed dramatically over time and that trend won’t stop anytime soon.