American paper money has been on the scene for more than 300 years; Massachusetts issued the first Colonial examples in 1690. Just how much do you know about our money? Try this quiz from Americana magazine:

1. The primary reason Massachusetts issued paper money in 1690 was to: a. reduce the cumbersome use of gold and silver in monetary transactions; b. pay the soldiers who fought in the Quebec campaign during King William's war; c. eliminate the need to import British currency; d. promote patriotism and honor the colony's leaders.2. Most American Colonial paper money stated that it was redeemable in: a. Spanish milled dollars; b. British pounds; c. French francs; d. Dutch guilders.

3. The word "dollar" comes from the: a. German "thaller"; b. Latin "dolor"; c. French "dol"; d. Greek "doleros."

4. Who was chiefly responsible for establishing our national banking system: a. Alexander Hamilton; b. Benjamin Franklin; c. Salmon P. Chase; d. Thomas Jefferson.

5. Which of the following women was pictured on Confederate paper money: a. Martha Washington; b. Lucy Pickens; c. Susan B. Anthony; d. Nellie Bly.

6. Our national motto, "In God We Trust," first appeared on paper money in 1864. a. true; b. false.

7. The Seal of the United States first appeared on American currency in: a. 1782; b. 1865; c. 1918; d. 1935.

8. The highest denomination of United States currency ever issued was: a. $1,000; b. $5,000; c. $10,000. d. $100,000.

9. Santa Claus has been pictured on a genuine $3 national bank note. a. true; b. false.

10. Material used as money in the United States has included: a. leather; b. nails; c. musket balls; d.tobacco; e. rice; f. a through e.


1. b. King William's War, between England and France, lasted from 1689 to 1697 and ended in a stalemate.

2. a. Because Britain saw no need to support independent economies or currencies in its American possessions, colonists relied on coinage produced in Spain's New World mints.

3. a. A "thaller" (or "thaler") was a 16th-century coin. Congress adopted the word "dollar" as our currency unit's name in 1784.

4. c. In 1861, as Chase began his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury and civil war was imminent, there was no uniformity in state banking laws. He stabilized the currency by issuing demand notes or "greenbacks," the first national paper money.

5. b. Lucy Holcombe Pickens, wife of South Carolina Governor Francis Pickens, was the only woman to be pictured on Confederate paper money.

6. b. The motto appeared on 1864 coins but was not authorized for paper money until 1955.

7. d. The seal was adopted in 1782 but made its first paper-money appearance on 1935 $1 silver certificates.

8. d. Woodrow Wilson's portrait appears on this gold-certificate note, which is not in general circulation.

9. a. Santa appeared on the $3 bills issued by at least five different banks, including the old Saint Nicholas National Bank of New York, chartered in 1865.

10. f. Other examples: corn was legal tender in Massachusetts (1631) and Connecticut (1642); postage stamps encased in brass and mica were used as currency during the Civil War.