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October 2nd, 2004

Canadian Money is Beautiful

For the past few years, the greenbacks here in the US have been undergoing surgery. New security features, a larger hunchback-like shape for Thomas Jefferson’s shoulder, and the like have given us a new way to look at these devices for obtaining goods and services. Yet, when reading an article about Canadian money at Speak Up I started feeling inadequate.

Go through the links and look at that Canadian money. It’s downright beautiful, flawed as it may be, compared to American cash. Ours seems boring and plain; Canada has a nice contemporary feel to its bills. I’ve not been to Canada and haven’t seen anything outside of the occasional Canadian quarter (and damn those things,) so this was pretty eye-opening.

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Zack
DATE: Saturday October 2, 2004 -- 8:34:15 am
I hadn't seen Canadian paper money before, just the occasional coin mixed in with my change. I try to unload it as soon as I can, but some stores won't take it if they notice.

Nova on PBS had a good story about the venerable greenback a while ago when the new security features were being added. One astonishing fact mentioned was that two thirds of all U.S. currency i.e. actual paper money (as opposed to bank credits and so on) is held outside the U.S. Apparently in countries with faltering economies, rampant inflation, political instabilty and so on, the U.S. dollar is the preferred medium of exchange on the street because its value remains stable over time.

This respect for the dollar was specifically mentioned by a government official in the show as one reason the dollar has not changed its appearance all that much; they want it to look conservative and stable. He also cited consumer resistance to too great a change.

The most colorful currency was said to be the Netherlands' bills, which were designed by one of their most famous graphic artists. I didn't like them - they look like play money. The U.S. is now adding color only as an anticounterfeiting technique, but I doubt it will slow them down, especially the towelheads intent on undermining the greenback the nonviolent way.

It takes some serious money to buy those high-pressure intaglio presses that give the raised surface to the ink, the paper with the colored threads and the hidden stripe, the watermark, and so on that all add up to make a really good counterfeit note with all the security details replicated, a lot more than the average hacker with a high resolution scanner can afford. Want to bet some of Osama bin Lden's money is involved? Hey, once the machines are up and running, he can recoup his expenditures right away; just run off a few million dollars worth of Ben Franklins.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday October 2, 2004 -- 12:15:43 pm
Funny you should mention play money, Zack. There's a comment in the Speak Up thread which brought to mind something I'd heard, too - the US did commission a designer to redesign the whole money line, but it was rejected because it looked like... play money.

That said, "towelheads?" C'mon.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday October 2, 2004 -- 1:55:32 pm
The 100 is particularly attractive... very nice...

FROM: Monica
DATE: Saturday October 2, 2004 -- 2:18:46 pm
I love how other countries realize that there are other important people out there besides politicians. these show that--Rutherford! Hilary! sweet!!. It's really cool that on the Canadian money they've used landscapes (the series from the 50's is neat) and regular people. Hey! there's a concept. Regular people use the money....
I laughed at the comment on the Speak Up page about $1 coins in the US accidentally being used for laundry instead of quarters. They should make $ coins thicker.

DATE: Wednesday October 6, 2004 -- 10:05:21 am
"I love how other countries realize that there are other important people out there besides politicians."

the people on our money aren't just politicians, they're the guys who designed and founded our country. I have no problem with the people on our money, except for JFK... whatever?! Although, I admit it would be nice to see other American influences on our money, like Henry Ford or Martin Luther King.

What is this then?

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