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Money and Finance

United States Currency

The Dollar

The standard currency of the United States is the dollar. The symbol representing the dollar is "$", which is called the dollar sign.

All money in the United States is based off of the dollar. The dollar is divided up into 100 smaller units called cents. Cents are represented by the symbol "¢."

The U.S. dollar is also the official currency for several other countries and is used as currency in many international markets.

United States Coins


Value: 1 cent
Metals: 97.5% zinc, 2.5% copper
Portrait: Abraham Lincoln

The official name for the penny is the "cent." The first coin produced by the United States mint was a 1 cent coin made in 1793 called the chain cent. The first pennies featuring Abraham Lincoln were made in 1909.


Value: 5 cents
Metals: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Portrait: Thomas Jefferson

The first nickel was made in 1866 and was called the Shield nickel. The Buffalo nickel was introduced in 1913 and the nickel featuring Thomas Jefferson was first made in 1938. In 2013, the cost of making a nickel was more than 9 cents.


Value: 10 cents
Metals: 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel
Portrait: Franklin D. Roosevelt

The dime is the smallest of all the U.S. coins in circulation both in thickness and diameter. The first dime was made in 1796. The dime featuring President Roosevelt was introduced in 1946. Up until 1965, dimes were made from 90% silver.


Value: 25 cents
Metals: 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel
Portrait: George Washington

The first quarter, called the Draped Bust, was introduced in 1796. The quarter featuring President George Washington was introduced in 1932. Between 1999 and 2008, fifty state quarters were introduced with an obverse (back) side each featuring a different state.

Half Dollar

Value: 50 cents
Metals: 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel
Portrait: John F. Kennedy

The first half dollar was minted in 1794 and was called the Flowing Hair. The half dollar featuring President John F. Kennedy was introduced in 1964. It is sometimes called the fifty-cent piece. Half dollars are seldom used in circulation today.


Value: 1 dollar
Metals: 77% copper, 12% zinc, 7% manganese, 4% nickel
Portrait: Susan B. Anthony (91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel), Sacagawea, Deceased Presidents

The first dollar coins were silver dollars minted in 1794. Throughout the years there have been many different dollar coins minted including the Eisenhower dollar (1971 to 1978), the Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979 to 1981, 1999), the American Silver Eagle (1986 - present), and the Sacagawea dollar (2000 to present). The more recent coins are minted for coin collectors.

U.S. Paper Money

1 Dollar
Portrait: George Washington

2 Dollars
Portrait: Thomas Jefferson

5 Dollars
Portrait: Abraham Lincoln

10 Dollars
Alexander Hamilton

20 Dollars
Portrait: Andrew Jackson

50 Dollars
Portrait: Ulysses S. Grant

100 Dollars
Portrait: Benjamin Franklin

Fun Facts About United States Currency

Learn More about Money and Finance:

Personal Finance

Filling out a Check
Managing a Checkbook
How to Save
Credit Cards
How a Mortgage Works
How Interest Works
Insurance Basics
Identity Theft

About Money

History of Money
How Coins are Made
How Paper Money is Made
Counterfeit Money
United States Currency
World Currencies
Money Math

Counting Money
Making Change
Basic Money Math
Money Word Problems: Addition and Subtraction
Money Word Problems: Multiplication and Addition
Money Word Problems: Interest and Percent


How Banks Work
How the Stock Market Works
Supply and Demand
Supply and Demand Examples
Economic Cycle
Adam Smith
How Taxes Work
Glossary and Terms

Note: This information is not to be used for individual legal, tax, or investment advice. You should always contact a professional financial or tax advisor before making financial decisions.

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