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how money is made

How Money is Made

Paper money is very common in today's world - the "dollar bills" you hear all the time. And, perhaps you may wonder how these notes are made. Making money involves a complex procedure, the bureau pays thorough attention to every process, putting counterfeit measures in place.


In the end, the bills still undergo extensive inspection and get the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury before they are released as legal currencies - money. In this article, we will look into the procedures involved in making money - how money is made.

Background Of Paper Money

The first use of paper money is traced to China during the seventh century but was not successful as it led to inflation and bankruptcy. Paper money thereafter entered circulation in 1658, as Johann Palmstruck, a Swedish financier introduced paper banknotes in Sweden.


In 1861, the United States Congress authorized the issue of paper money which was larger than what we have today.

How Money is Made; Making Paper Money

Here are the steps on how money is made, paper money precisely:

#1. Making the Paper

The first step in how money is made is making the paper. The paper for making money is a special kind of paper also known as substrate. The paper is made of 75% cotton and 25% linen, with small portions of blue and red fiber scattered throughout the paper. Some bills have two plies and a polymer security thread attached to them.

#2. Applying the Inks

A special type of ink made from dry color pigments mixed with oils and extenders is used in the printing process of paper money. Black ink is used for the front of the bills and green ink for the back. The serial number and colored seal that you see in front of the bills are printed with regular ink.

#3. Intaglio Printing - Designing the Bills

At this stage, the engravers pay special attention to designing the money to give it a unique look. As such, different engravers design different details of the bills - numerals, portraits, lettering, etc. They print each of these details separately, allowing one to dry before printing another.

#5. Inspection

The sheet goes through a thorough inspection to ensure that paper, ink, and printing is in line with the standard for the state's bill production. The Secretary of the Treasury engraves their signature on the master die (a soft steel version of the design) for each denomination bill.

#6. Overprinting

This printing is for the serial number and seals and usually happens when the sheets pass inspection and are approved.

#7. Stacking and Cutting

Finally on how money is made is the stacking and cutting stage. The papers are stacked in 100s and printed on large sheets, and then cut into individual bills that are now legal currencies.


One of the major characteristics of money is cognizability, which is the ability to recognize money at a glance. These critical processes involved in the production culminate to achieve this quality, and they are how money is made.

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