Education Facts History

Here’s What Every Marking on the One Dollar Bill Means


Who doesn’t love money? We’d never say no if you handed us some free cash, even if it was just one dollar. We’re sure most of you would be the same, but have you ever wondered about all the stuff that goes on these bills? There’s a lot of information on these pieces of paper that we’ve never considered before handing them over to a cashier. Maybe it’s time we educated ourselves.

The treasury seal

To the right of George Washington is a green symbol atop the word one. While the word is pretty obvious in its meaning (it represents the value of the bill), the symbol is not so clear at a glance. It’s actually the United States Treasury Seal. This is made up of scales, a key and 13 stars (to represent the original number of states in the nation), and shows the government’s seal of approval on the note. It’s their way of saying it’s not a forgery.

The federal reserve seal

That’s not the only reserve seal on the dollar bill. If you’ve ever been curious about where the note was printed, you can actually find out just by looking at it. To the left of George Washington is a seal with a letter in it. This ranges from A-L and represents one of the 12 reserve banks that are used for printing notes. These include locations in Boston, New York, Atlanta and Kansas City. Alongside the seal is a number (which is printed in four positions on the bill) that corresponds to the district number of the reserve bank.

Series date

To find out when the dollar bill was printed, look at the bottom of the note to the right of Washington’s picture. You’ll find it next to the Secretary of the Treasury’s signature. The series date only changes when someone new replaces the treasurer, or the design of the bill undergoes an alteration.

Serial number

One of the boldest marks on the one dollar bill is the serial number. This is printed in green and located above the treasury seal and below the federal reserve seal. If the first letter in the serial number does not match the one in the latter seal, then the bill is counterfeit. Some notes use the same serial number, so the letter at the very end signifies how many times the same sequence of numbers has been used.

Note number

This number is used to show whereabouts on the plate that the bill was printed. 32 notes are printed on one sheet, so this marking helps to set them apart. The numbers 1-4 are used to signify which of the four quadrants it was set in, while the letters A-H show where in that quadrant it was located. This mark can be found to the left of the federal reserve seal.

Plate series number

If you look on the right of the treasury seal, you’ll notice there’s a number there which represents the plate that the bill was printed on. This differs from the series number found on the lower right corner on the back of the bill, because both sides are printed using different plates.

Seals on the back

Flip the note over and you’ll find two large symbols dominating the bill. To the left is the Eye of Providence, which is viewed by many as the sign of the Illuminati. This image of a pyramid with an eye at the peak represents strength, permanence, and the watchful eye of God. On the right is the seal of the United States. This features a bald eagle with an olive branch and 13 arrows (again, representing the original number of states). It’s on there to show the States’ inclination for peace, but readiness for war.

Who knew that so much went into making money. Now, when you get handed a one dollar bill, you’ll know exactly where it was made and what was used to make it.