The dollar banknote has a rich history. The first dollar bill was introduced in 1690 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a way of funding military efforts, and not long after, other colonies followed suit.
In this guide, we’ll go over the dimensions of the dollar bill, as well as how it changed over time and why.
But if you’re short on time, allow me to give you a TL;DR of the dollar bill’s dimensions.
The dollar bill measures 6.14 × 2.61 inches (15.6 × 6.6 centimeters) and has a thickness of 0.0043 inches (0.11 millimeters).
Dollar Bill Dimensions and Weight
The US banknote has changed a lot over the centuries. When the first paper bills were mass-produced in 1861, they were known as Demand Notes. A Demand Note could be redeemed in gold or silver at any specified bank in the country.
However, Demand Notes only had a lifespan of about two years until, in 1862, they were replaced with the United States Notes that we know today. From 1862 to 1929, US banknotes were printed in 1862 to be 7.375 × 3.125 inches (18.7 × 7.9 centimeters) in size.
In 1929, printers reduced the size of US banknotes by 30%. Since then, we have had the 6.14 × 2.61-inch (15.6 × 6.6-centimeter) bills that we know today. The primary purpose of doing so was to cut manufacturing costs. The thickness of US notes was also standardized at this time to measure 0.0043 inches (0.11 millimeters).
In addition, according to the US Department of Treasury, a dollar bill, regardless of its denomination, weighs exactly one gram.
Size and Weight Comparisons
Since there are about 454 grams to 1 pound, that means 1 pound of $1 bills would equal $454, and a ton of $1 bills would be worth roughly $907,185.
So, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the United States with an estimated net worth of $201 billion, if he were to liquidate his assets and convert them into $1 bills, he would have 443,129,147 pounds of singles.
To put that weight into perspective, a large African elephant weighs 14,000 pounds. That means it would take about 32,000 of them to weigh the same as all of Jeff’s money in $1 bills.
Now, what if Jeff were to take his $1 bills and stack them up? How high would 201 billion $1 bills reach?
Seeing as how a single banknote measures 0.0043 inches in thickness (0.11 millimeters), that means it would take 233 bills to measure 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in height.
So, taking his entire $201 billion fortune in $1 bills, his net worth would measure 862,661 inches tall. That’s 71,888 feet tall! That’s the same as 13.6 miles (21,887.1 kilometers), which is the equivalent of slightly more than 26 Burj Khalifas stacked on top of each other!
FAQ About Dollar Bills
1. Do all US banknotes have the same dimensions?
Yes, there do have the same dimensions. Every $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bill measures 6.14 × 2.61 inches (15.6 × 6.6 centimeters) and 0.0043 (0.11 millimeters) in thickness.
As for the bills that were printed prior to 1923—such as $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, $100,000 bills—they may follow the old size standard of 7.375 × 3.125 inches (18.7 × 7.9 centimeters).
2. Can a dollar bill expire?
Technically, paper money printed after 1923 does not have an expiration date. That means if you have a dollar bill from 1950, for example, you can still use it to purchase goods and services worth $1. However, you might want to save old bills as a collector’s item.
3. How long does paper money last?
Generally speaking, denominations that are infrequently used for transactions have a longer lifespan. Denominations like $1, $5, and $10 will expire more quickly since they will change hands much more frequently than $50 and $100.
4. Has there ever been a woman on a US dollar?
Yes, there has. Martha Washington, the wife of the first POTUS, George Washington, was featured on the $1 silver certificate. These certificates were initially printed in 1886 but were discontinued in 1957.
If you have a Martha Washington $1 silver certificate lying around, you might want to get it appraised before selling it. Uncirculated or mint $1 silver certificates with Martha’s portrait can sell for around $1,500 to the right buyer.
5. How much does it cost to make dollar bills?
Every year, the Federal Reserve placed an order with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to issue fresh dollar bills hot off the press. In 2021, the budget for printing new dollar bills was close to $1.1 million to issue new dollar bills.
The production cost for each dollar bill depends on the denomination. The $1 and $2 bills cost 6.2¢ each, the $5 and $10 bills cost 10.8¢ each, the $20 costs 11.2¢, the $50 bill costs 11¢, and the $100 bill costs 14¢.
The reason that higher-denomination dollar bills cost more to produce is that they have more security features (3D security ribbon, watermarks, color-shifting) than their lower-denomination counterparts.
6. How many US dollar bills are in circulation today?
Between the years 2000 and 2020, the number of dollar bills in circulation has gone up by quite a lot. In 2020, there were:
- 13.1 billion $1 bills
- 1.4 billion $2 bills
- 3.2 billion $5 bills
- 2.3 billion $10 bills
- 11.7 billion $20 bills
- 2.3 billion $50 bills
- 16.4 billion $100 bills
Including the older-style US notes, the total money in circulation in 2020 equaled roughly $50.3 billion.
Just to refresh your memory, a US dollar bill, regardless of its denomination, is 6.14 × 2.61 inches (15.6 × 6.6 centimeters) and measures 0.0043 inches (0.11 millimeters) in thickness.
If you found this information as valuable as a dollar bill, please let your friends know by sharing this article on social media. And if you’re willing to share how much your net worth would measure in height, we’d love to read about it in the comments section!