Do You Know Your Money?

How much do you really know about the history of cold, hard cash?


Sure, you could rattle off your company's cash-flow history any day. But how much do you really know about the history of cash (not to mention how to make change for a dollar)?

1) What were the first official coins issued by the United States and what were they made of?

A. "Nickels," made of wood
B. "Two-bit" pieces, made of melted-lead musket balls
C. "Half-dismes," made from Martha Washington's silverware
D. Captured British "crowns," renamed "liberties," made of gold

2) If carried by a Civil War Union soldier, 85 cents would not have jingled, because coins were…

A. Replaced with cotton balls
B. Replaced with postage stamps
C. Replaced with paper currency in several denominations less than $1
D. Carried, by regulation, at the bottom of each of the 40 circular holes inside a soldier's cartridge box

3) What is the most change you can carry yet still not be able to make change for a dollar?

A. 99 cents
B. $1.19
C. $1.29
D. $1.50

4) The United States once issued $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills marked on both sides with the word "Hawaii." Why?

A. To commemorate the year, 1959, that Hawaii became the 50th state
B. To commemorate the inauguration of the first Hawaiian-born President, Barack Obama
C. To mark bills that might fall into Japanese hands during World War II
D. To track the flow of tourists between the mainland and the Hawaiian Islands

5) Using the coins now in circulation, how many ways can you make change for a dollar?

A. 28
B. 97
C. 113
D. 293

6) In May, the first silver dollar, minted in 1794, was sold to a coin collector for a record-high price. How much did it sell for?

A. $1,000,000
B. $2,010,000
C. $4,725,000
D. $7,850,000

7) What is the highest denomination paper note the United States has ever printed?

A. $10,000
B. $100,000
C. $500,000
D. $1,000,000

8) In only one portrait on U.S. currency now in circulation does the subject face left instead of right. It is the:

A. $1 bill featuring George Washington
B. $5 bill featuring Abraham Lincoln
C. $10 bill featuring Alexander Hamilton
D. $20 bill featuring Andrew Jackson

Tom Denly is owner of Denly's of Boston (, an international dealer of collectible currency.

Answers: 1–C; 2–B and C; 3–B (3 quarters, 4 dimes, and 4 cents); 4–C; 5–D; 6–D; 7–B, but it was used only between banks. A is the largest note put into general circulation; 8–C


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