All right, do you know how an anti-counterfeiting pen works that clerks use in all the stores to check your bills, twenties and higher? It goes something like this: The pen contains an iodine solution, this solution will react with starch in wood pulp based papers and stain the bill black. Because our currency is actually made from cotton fibers no staining will occur. If you want to be precise however, our currency is actually made from jeans. That’s right, the company that provides the rag to the Dept. of the Treasury is the biggest consumer of left over denim from the Levi Strauss company. You’ll never look at 501s the same way, will you? However, our money has changed slightly in composition over the last several decades, which is why the box the pen comes in tells you specifically that it cannot be used on bills older than 1959.
This is why bills older than 1959, say series 1950 and 1953 will actually stain darker brown, but not quite black with an anti-counterfeiting pen, because they do contain traces of wood pulp mixed in with the cotton fibers. Now there aren’t a whole lot of bills floating around in circulation from before that time, but there are some as the higher denomination bills have a life expectancy measured in years rather than months as the $1 and $5 are. Which brings us to our story.
A gentleman passed an older $50 dollar bill and the clerk at the mart said, “Oh my (insert deity here), I’m getting screwed by a counterfeiter.” So he calls the cops, the cops arrive arrest the man, etc, etc, until they find out it was real from a bank examiner. They released the man and told him to exchange the bill at the bank to keep this from happening. What you don’t realize is this happens all the time. I read about it two to three times a month. “Boy arrested for passing golden dollars at McDonald’s”; “Man with real $100 detained by police”; “Secret Service contacted over $2 bills”. These are real headlines.
Here is the thing, it doesn’t take a genius to realize our money hasn’t always look the same and it takes even less research to find out the Dept. of the Treasury offers anti-counterfeiting detection methods for older bills. Hell get a picture off the internet, get some education. This isn’t freakin’ rocket science, it’s a dollar bill. With the economy going down the crapper, you’re going to see more and more of these older bills that people have squirreled away over the years as they move their wealth into something safer or they need the money for living expenses. Get with the times, old bills are in!