Choose from Three Options
- $19 for Breaking Free financial seminar for two ($40 value)
- $35 for Breaking Free financial seminar for four ($80 value)
- $69 for Breaking Free financial seminar for eight ($160 value)
- See the schedule for dates and times for the two-hour seminars.
Minty Fresh: How US Currency Is Made
Money doesn’t grow on trees—it grows in closely guarded government facilities. Read on to peek behind the curtain at this intricate process.
Each greenback begins its life as a large, uncut sheet of specially designed paper made of a durable mixture of 75% cotton and 25% linen. To begin the printing process, the front and back side of each sheet is stamped with subtle background colors. After that, the back and front designs are added via intelagio (pronounced in-tal-ee-oh) printing—a technique that uses engraved plastic plates (or dies) copied from a single master. To ensure each print will be flawless, inspectors scrutinize the master die for errors as small as 1/10 the width of a human hair. After an inspection, a final printing process adds the serial numbers, treasury and Fed seals, and tomorrow’s winning lotto picks to each bill. A computer system inspects the sheets once more (checking each one in just 200 milliseconds) before they are finally chopped into individual bills. Carefully calibrated machinery bundles the bills into stacks 4,000 deep, then eventually packages them into “skids” of 640,000 bills—each one totaling as much as $64 million.
- In the mid-1860s, an estimated one-third of America’s circulating currency was counterfeit. That number is drastically lower today, thanks in part to high-tech security features the Department of the Treasury rolled out between 2003 and 2013.
- The Treasury’s three printing facilities produce about 38 million bills per day using 18 tons of ink, or about six times the amount an average squid uses to write its first novel.
- The entire printing process takes longer than it seems, as the sheets of soon-to-be bills must dry for up to 72 hours between each stage.