Quick–-who’s on the $50? The $100? (Ulysses Grant and Benjamin Franklin).
Instead of board games this weekend, my family and I participated in a different kind of trivia : we all registered our bills with Where’s George? The United States Currency Tracking Project and have started a little competition of our own. A grownup, real-time variation (to find on search, google “wheres george”) of the Where is…? game (remember Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?), this game is less about geography and more about the strange journey a dollar (or 5, 10, or more) makes moving around our country–perfect for family staycations, or COVID homebodies like me who can’t seem to get further than the front door (or sofa) this weekend.
This is much more fun and less expensive than playing the lottery.
If You Find a Bill with Where’s George? On It…
Go to the Where’s George? Home Page and enter the serial number and current Zip Code, then hit Continue and just follow the simple direction there. A serial number is a unique combination of eleven numbers and letters that appears twice on the front of the note. Each note has a unique serial number. The first letter of the serial number corresponds to the series year. (The lower the serial number, the more valuable the currency is thought to be.)
The Magical George Score and How it is Calculated
The magical George Score (if you were wondering) is calculated as: 100* ( SQRT(LN(BillsEntered)) + LN(Hits + 1) ) * [1 – (Days of Inactivity / 100)] (where LN = natural log and SQRT = square root).
Started in 1998 by a database programmer from Massachusetts, this free site is amazingly stable and well-done, and it’s been around long enough that there is a lot of data. So where does YOUR town rank? You can see how your town ranks in the state for number of Where’s George? entries, hits and overall “George” Score on the site.
A real-time Hit Feed on the site continuously counts current hits, with town and condition description. My town–San Francisco–is in San Francisco County where it is #21 in the state, behind San Joaquin with 1,135,215 total bills entered, 236,552 bills hit, and a George Score of 1,610.8.
Come on, San Francisco! Pull out your wallets for more than high tech gadgets at the Apple Store. If you have any fun money left over (and hoping you do), register your 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 dollar bills with Where’s George? and stand up and be counted (or at least have your cash counted, eventually).
Yes, You Can Add Your Own What’s George? Bills
You will need to register on the wheresgeorge.com site if you want to start and track your own round of Where’s George? bills. You can only track U.S. currency, not international currency. Go here for money sites around the world that have been inspired by Where’s George?
Note that Where’s George? only tracks bills from series 1969 forward, except for $1 or $2 bills from series 1963 forward.
And Yes, There’s T-Shirts, Too
To support this free site and to keep the lights on, Where’s George? has some ads and also has a swag page.
But Isn’t It Illegal to Deface U.S. Currency?
According to their site, “Where’s George? does not encourage the defacement of U.S. Currency. The law defines “illegal” defacement as defacement that renders bills unfit to be re-issued.” For the full legal details from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, go here.
Q: How Much U.S. Currency and Coin are in Circulation around the world?
(See ANSWER below)
A: More than 1 trillion U.S. currency and coin are in circulation around the world (source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
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