How well do you know those $1 bills in your pocket or purse? You should know them pretty well because there have not been any changes made on them since 1956, when President Eisenhower signed into law the addition of “In God We Trust” on the bill.

We call it paper money but it really isn’t made of paper. It is actually composed of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen.

The $1 bill has some interesting characteristics that may help you appreciate it more. Need a ruler but can’t find one? Your $1 bill is exactly 6 inches in length.

Do you have trouble remembering the Roman numerals? The Roman numeral below the pyramid represents 1776 (MDCCLXXVI). M represents 1,000, D represents 500, C represents 100, L represents 50, X represents 10, V represents five and 1 represents one. If you had to write the date 2019 in Roman numerals, how would you write it? Which is correct A. MMXIX, B. MDXIX, or C. MMDMIX.

“A” is the correct answer.

If you are superstitious and like the number 13, you should really love the $1 bill. The number “13” is represented all over it. Let’s take a look.

There are 13 stripes on the eagle’s shield. There is a 13-star constellation above the eagle’s head. There are 13 warlike arrows in the eagle’s claw. Can you see the tiny 13 olives on the olive branch? How about the 13 leaves on the olive branch? The pyramid has 13 steps, for the original colonies and is unfinished to show our country can constantly be improved.

At the top of the pyramid there are also 13 letters in the Latin motto “Annuit Coeptis,” which means “He has favored our undertaking.” Novus ordo seclorum” located below the pyramid means “New order of the ages.” Both mottoes have to do with Manifest Destiny, which was a widely held belief that Americans were destined to settle the West.

I like to use this little trivia note with students. “Who can be the first one to find an owl on the $1 bill?” (It’s on the Washington side in the upper right sitting on the border surrounding the “1”.

Benjamin Franklin and a group of men designed the seal on the $1 dollar bill. It took them four years to do it. Both circles on the $1 bill represent the seal of the United States.

I am not sure who figured this out but there are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. This would be another good math question for kids.

Quick, find a $1 bill. Count how many times the number “one” is represented in written or numerical form. A “1” in a serial number does not count. The answer is “16”.

One of my favorite riddles is, “What president is on the $10 bill?” The answer is, “There is no president on the $10 bill.” Alexander Hamilton’s portrait is on it and he was never a president. He was the Secretary of the Treasury.

Since we are on the subject, can you name the person who is on the seven most commonly used currency bills? Who is on the $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills? One is Washington, 2 is Jefferson, 5 is Lincoln, Hamilton is 10, Jackson is 20, Grant is 50 and Franklin is 100.

A $1 bill is touched by lots of hands and wears out quickly. The average circulation for a $1 bill is about six years compared to 15 years for a $100 bill.

The most widespread bill in circulation is the $1 bill with 11.4 billion in our pockets. What is the next most widely used bill? You would think maybe a $5 or a $10 or $20 but it is the $100 bill with nearly as many in circulation. I wouldn’t know about that because I never see any.

In 1886, the face of George was replaced with a prettier face, which was Martha. If you are lucky to have one of these bills, it’s worth about $300 to $600 depending on condition. George was returned on the bill in 1887. His ego just couldn’t handle it.

When you a spare moment with literally nothing to do, rather than take out your iPhone, take out a $1 to read. There is more to it than meets the all-seeing eye on the pyramid.

Riddle: How much did the pirate pay for his corn? (A buccaneer.) I would like to think that George Washington, who we see every day on the $1 bill would support the 100 percent movement. Here’s a trivia question for you, “How many schools have Washington in their name?” When you find out, let me know.

100 percent graduation

Thanks to these organizations who agreed to partner with the 100 percent movement: Bemidji Elk’s Lodge 1052, First Lutheran Church, St. Phillip’s St. Vincent de Paul, Northern Cycle and Ace Hardware, we are now at 313.

Parents can help young people graduate when they:

  • Engage kids in conversations about the importance of education.
  • Participate in parent teacher conferences.
  • Have their children associate with kids who also value education.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.