Fun Facts about Money

The pursuit of money obsesses people all over the world. From trying to earn a better salary to winning the lottery, almost everybody wants more of the stuff. Here are our favorite fun facts about money:

The oldest form of currency is probably cattle, with their use as money dating all the way back to 9000 B.C.! Some cattle were even still used as money in parts of Africa in the middle of the 20th century.

cow portrait
This cow might have been worth her weight in gold!

Paper money was invented in China in the 9th century. Its original name was “flying money” because it could easily blow away in the wind. Not surprisingly, they only used it for a short time. The first time paper currency was consistently used was in France in the 18th century (perhaps it's less windy there...).

Before the widespread use of paper money, Americans traded animal skins as currency including that of male deer, known as 'bucks'. This is why the word "buck" is used in North America to describe money.

More money is printed for the game Monopoly every year than real money printed around the world. The manufacturers of the game say that they print $30 billion in Monopoly every year.

Heads and Tails is a popular game used to decide how to settle a split between two possible choices, as the chances of the coin landing on heads or tails is split 50/50… Or so we thought! The heads side actually weighs slightly more than that of the tails, so it is more like a 51/49 split, so always pick tails as you’ll have a slightly better chance.

Roman soldiers used to be be paid partly in salt, which was seen as a valuable resource that could help preserve meat. Soldiers would send the salt home to their families to help them preserve their food. In fact, the word “salary” comes from sal, which means “salt” in Latin.

salt
Imagine if your pay check was made of salt!

There are more than 1.6 million ATMs (or cash machines) in the world. There is even one in Antarctica! I still never seem to be able to find one when I really need it though…

A check can be written on absolutely anything! It is just an instruction to the bank, so it does not strictly have to be presented in standard, boring, check form. People used to even write their checks on cows, so perhaps you might want to get creative! I suppose the only tricky part would be to stop the bank teller laughing at you when you attempt to cash in your cow.

What are your favorite money facts? Does your home country have any interesting customs with money? Leave your comments below!

Glossary:

obsess (pl. obsesses) (v.) - to fill the mind of someone continually to an extreme extent

currency (n.) - the money officially used in a particular country

widespread (adj.) - found or distributed over a large area or number of people

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