November 20, 2013

What’s in a Dollar? A Fun Financial Fact

Would a dollar by another name buy as much? Take a look at some of these popular terms for the dollar — the currency named after Joachimsthal, a place in Bohemia where a taler, or silver coin, was first used:

Buck: The trading of animal skins (buckskins and doeskins) may form the origins of this slang term. Or, it’s possible that it comes from the use of a marker, called a buck, used in poker to indicate the next dealer (as in, “pass the buck!”)

Greenbacks: The Civil War brought a shortage of metal coins and a distrust of banks. Lincoln’s treasury secretary, Salmon P. Chase, issued “legal tender notes” with green designs on their backs, which eventually caught on.

Dough: Food words, including dough, bread, and bacon, seemed to dominate the cash lingo during the depression-era 20s and 30s. The idiom for counterfeit money? Sourdough.

Dead presidents: Referring, of course, to the likenesses on the faces of U.S. bills, this is inaccurate. Benjamin Franklin was never president!