Mental Floss

15 Microprints Hiding in United States Currency

Caitlin Schneider
YouTube
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Even in the age of credit cards and online payments, most of us still handle legal tender every single day without ever stopping to look more closely at how money is designed. You probably hadn't noticed, for example, that most notes boast tiny words scattered about the larger images. Here are 15 of those hidden microprints. A word of warning if you’re a hands-on type who’s pulling out his or her wallet right about now: you’re going to need a microscope.

The $5 Bill

1. Along the left and right borders are the words "FIVE DOLLARS".

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

2. There's an "E PLURIBUS UNUM" at the top of the shield within the Great Seal and "USA" repeated in between the columns of the shield.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

3. On the back, "USA FIVE" appears along one edge of the purple number five.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

4. The actual Lincoln Memorial has state names engraved on it, which also appear on the back of the bill.


The $10 Bill

5. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "TEN DOLLARS" reside below the portrait...

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

6. ... as well as inside the borders of the note.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

7. "USA 10" is repeated beneath the torch.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The $20 bill:

8.  There's a "USA20" along the border of the first three letters of the blue "TWENTY USA" ribbon, to the right of Jackson's portrait.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

9. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 20 USA 20 USA" appears in black in the border below the Treasurer’s signature (there's also a "20" between the two and zero, and "USA" in the circle of the zero).


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The $50 Bill

10. To the left of the portrait, there's a "FIFTY," "USA," and "50" inside two of the blue stars to the left of the portrait (one just to the left of the Federal Reserve seal and one just to the right). There's also "FIFTY" repeated within the border of the note.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

11. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" hides in President Grant’s collar.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The $100 Bill:

12, 13, 14, and 15. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" rests on Benjamin Franklin’s jacket collar, there's a "USA 100" around the blank space containing the portrait watermark, "ONE HUNDRED USA" along the golden quill, and "100" repeating along the borders of the bill. (You'll really need a magnifying glass—and $100 bill—for this one, as high resolution images are hard to find). 

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain


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