Money, Real and Counterfeit.
1. Without looking, tell me whose picture is on a one dollar bill. What about a five dollar bill? If you know these, maybe you know the pictures on a ten, twenty or even a fifty dollar bill. If you're not sure, someone could give you a "phony" bill with the wrong picture and you'd never know the difference.
2. Do you know where the pictures on money came from? In the early days people made payments by the weight of their silver or gold. （Just think how much time you save now by paying for things with a coin or bill. You don't have to weigh out so many ounces of gold. That would surely slow down the normal pace of business today.）
3. However, the ancient Greeks and Romans used coins of a definite value like our dime or quarter. At that time, animals were pictured on the coins. You won't think that this is so unusual if you examine a nickel and see the buffalo on the back of it.
4. A little later, though, the Greeks and Romans began to put pictures of famous people on their coins. It took some time to develop a central money-making business. Because of this, people would sometimes put pictures of their own ancestors on their coins. Even though this may have been confusing at times, it's easier than trading animals for things that you need. Imagine receiving a cow as change for something you have just bought! It's much simpler to carry a purse or a wallet than to exchange one thing for another.
5. The use of coins and money grew just as civilization advanced. As time passed, civilization became much more complicated. Now a person works for a certain amount of money so that he can pay for food and clothing. He does not need to grow his own food. We're in an age of specialization. We don't have time to make our own clothes and shoes, so money is a way of trading today.
6. When we use money today, however, the actual value of the coin itself does not equal its face value. For example, a dime may not have ten cents' worth of silver in it. The paper in a dollar bill may not be worth a full dollar. Well, you might ask, how is it worth anything? The answer is that money is like a medal. It's not the money itself, but what it stands for, that gives it its value. An Olympic runner wins a medal. It is actually not worth very much, but it's the idea behind it that counts to him. It's like the half dollar in your pocket. It's what it will buy that counts, not its actual weight.
7. Money making is much more complicated now than it has ever been. That's one reason why it's harder to get away with making counterfeit money these days.
8. You might think that it would be easy to make a phony dollar bill. Many people have tried, but they haven't been very good at it. There are some good reasons for this. First of all, the pictures on American bills are in the shape of an oval; so if you see a one-dollar bill with the picture of George Washington in a circle, you can be certain that it's not a real bill. Check the eyes on the picture, too. The eyes on the picture of a real bill are sharp and clear; so there's another sign to watch for.
9. Some people say that a bank teller can spot a counterfeit bill just by feeling it. If there is reason to believe that a bill is not real, there are other signs to us, though. It takes a close look, but if you check the treasury seal, you'll see that the points on a counterfeit are not quite sharp enough. The serial numbers are a third giveaway. The type use by the United States government cannot be purchased anywhere else. Since they're difficult to copy, the serial number should tip off a counterfeit bill.
10. Perhaps the most interesting part of the real bill is the border. The pattern of thin lines is made by a very special machine. The design of thin lines is so complicated that it's almost impossible to match them. Those who try usually pause some of the lines to run into each other, or else some of them blur or blot.
11. Now that you know some of the signs of a counterfeit bill, what about the pictures? Thomas Jefferson is on the two-dollar bill, and Abraham Lincoln is shown on the five. If you're not sure of a ten-dollar bill, check the picture of Alexander Hamilton. For a twenty, you should look for the picture of Andrew Jackson, and on a fifty-dollar bill, you'll see a picture of Ulysses Grant. You see, we're like the Greeks and Romans when we put pictures of famous men on our money, too. Actually, it would be ridiculous to expect a counterfeiter to put the wrong picture on a bill.
12. Have you ever seen a counterfeit coin? If a coin feels greasy, that's one of the first signs that it's not real. You can probably hear a fake coin just by dropping it on a hard surface. A counterfeit will sound dull, while a real coin will have a definite ring to it.
13. You don't need to look for trouble ail the time, but if you have reason to think a coin or bill is a counterfeit, perhaps some of these tips will help you out.