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Strange money facts

America's currency hasn't always been today's reliable, if somewhat boring, greenback. Here are some little-known dollar details:

$ Paul Revere made the first plates for "Continental Currency" in 1775. The notes were redeemable in Spanish-milled dollars.

$ The U.S. government did not issue paper money per se until 1861. Instead, it chartered 1,600 private banks to print and circulate their own bills. There were eventually 7,000 varieties of "state bank notes" in circulation, each with a different design.

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$ When Americans began hoarding coins for their intrinsic value during the Civil War, the U.S. Treasury printed 3-, 5-, 10-, 25- and 50-cent notes.

$ In 1929, U.S. currency was reduced to two-thirds of its former size to accommodate 12-up printing processes.

$ It takes approximately 4,000 double-folds to tear a U.S. bill.

Source: U.S. Secret Service and Bureau of Printing and Engraving

-- Posted: April 20, 2001

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