Chances are you have a $20 bill in your wallet or purse, but do you have a pound of them? If you did, you’d have a nice chunk of change. So, how much money would a pound of $20 bills make? All United States paper money weighs one gram, or 0.0022 ounces. It would take 454 $20 bills to make a pound, for a grand total of $9,080.
The Beginnings of the $20 Bill
In the early days of the United States, colonies printed their own money, and states later did the same thing. The original colonies modeled their currency after British money, but shortly after the Revolution, the United States decided to issue its own currency.
When the new nation established the First National Bank of the United States in 1791, the first national currency came into being. The United States had one standard set of currency nationwide throughout the eras of the First and Second National Banks, but when the charter for the Second National Bank ended in 1832, money became crazy and complex. The “free banking era” had begun.
From the 1830s until the Civil War, the United States didn’t have a standard currency across the nation. During the “free banking era,” banks and railroads printed their own money, which meant that you had different exchange rates from place to place. It wasn’t easy to keep up with what your money was worth from one town or state to another, so financial transactions were complex and sometimes frustrating.
It took the Civil War to get the nation to centralize its currency again, which led to the Federal Reserve Bank and the modern paper money that we know of today.
Today’s $20 Bill
The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States began featuring President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill in 1928. The White House appeared on the reverse side. The design remained relatively the same until 1998, when the United States changed it to add increased security features. The current design of the $20 bill debuted in 2003.
Today’s $20 bill is made from 75% cotton and 25% linen for durability. It features a large portrait of Andrew Jackson just to the left of center on the front, and the White House on the back. The motto “In God We Trust” appears above the White House. The ink on the front is green, peach, and black, and the bill is green on the back.
The modern version of the $20 bill includes security features that make it more difficult to counterfeit. The bill features a security thread embedded into it that glows under UV light, along with an additional watermark of Andrew Jackson that you can see when you hold the bill up to a light. The number 20 at the bottom right corner changes color at different angles as well.
In the 21st century, several movements arose to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and in 2016 the United States Treasury announced that the bill would soon feature anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman on the front of the bill and move Jackson’s portrait to the back by 2020. By 2019, the Treasury admitted that the changes to the bill would be delayed due to the development of new security features.