USA | Nov 26, 2023

US prints record amount of $50 bills 

/ Our Today

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US fifty dollar banknotes are pictured in this photo illustration. (Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/Sipa USA via REUTERS)

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has printed a record-breaking number of US$50 dollar bills last year with a total of more than 756 million banknotes printed.

This is the highest nominal value printed in one year for more than 40 years, amounting to about US$37.8 billion if you add up all the $50 dollar bills printed.

In 2019, only 3.5 per cent of US banknotes were $50, compared to 8.5 per cent in 2022.

Though the $50 bill has traditionally been a less popular note, the US Federal Reserve Service is finding that people have started saving more money and that it’s more convenient to save larger bills. CNN is reporting that during the pandemic, Americans began carrying more cash, so the Fed decided to raise the rate of $50 bills, printing 756,096,000 in 2022.

$50 bill one of the rarest bills ordered in recent years 

Prior to the pandemic, the $50 bill was one of the rarest bills ordered in recent years with the exception of the $2 bill. However, in 2021 and 2022, the Fed ordered more $50 bills than $10 and $5.

The Fed doesn’t print money but estimates demand and orders currency from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, while the US Mint produces coins. Currency orders are now primarily driven by the need to replace damaged notes, and the average lifespan of a $50 bill is 12.2 years, according to the Fed.

The Fed is reporting that in the 2024 order of notes, they plan to print a range of roughly 99 to 211 million $50 bills, which is less than a third of what was printed in 2022. There is a common superstition surrounding the banknotes with some people avoiding to handle $50 bills due to superstitions about bad luck.

Although there are various explanations regarding the origin of the superstition surrounding the $50 bill, there is no concrete evidence that the bill itself is the cause of bad luck. The belief has originated among gamblers and individuals involved in illegal activities who preferred to use a smaller denominations of bills.

The 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant, is featured on the bill. Some people associate Grant with bad luck and disappointment, and they believe that he has cursed the bill.


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