Why is our money green?
Jul 20, 2021
Season 2 | Episode 5

Why is our money green?

Why do they feature famous people? And why are the designs so detailed? We’ve got the answers!

This week we’re tracking down answers to a bunch of your questions about why money looks the way it does. A lot of you were curious about stuff like why American money is green, why other countries have more colorful currency, and who decides whose picture goes on each bill. We’ll get you all those answers — and more! Plus, we’ll meet a museum’s money curator, learn about the way money art protects us from fakes and think about how we’d design our own money … if anyone asked us.

Read the transcript here.

In a four panel comic, we explain how each money is a little work of art, to make it difficult to copy and make it beautiful. Every country's money looks different, using images that represent their people, history and culture. Take a look at your currency. How well does it represent your country?
Leigh Luna/Marketplace

And now … tips for grown-ups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Money Talks

Take a minute to recap the episode and review the key points. Here are some questions to get the kids going:

  1. What’s the name of the museum where money curator Ellen Feingold works?
  2. How can you see 26 states for just $5?
  3. Why are American dollar bills green?
  4. Why aren’t there any women depicted on American bills?
  5. If you could design your own money, what would it look like?

(Scroll to the bottom or click here for the answers!)

Tip Jar

This week we only scratched the surface of all the cool stuff there is to know about money and why it looks the way it does. Here are a few more goodies:

Gimme Five

We had so much fun with our “live audience” this week, we wanted to give you a chance to join us on this virtual stage — and try your hand at working the crowd. If you’ve got a great joke about money, we want to hear it! Share it with us here.

Money Talks answers

  1. The Smithsonian
  2. Get out a five dollar bill and look at the Lincoln Memorial on the back. If you look closely you can see the names of 26 states written across the top of the building.
  3. When they were first designed in the early 1860s, we only had black and white photography. The designers chose a bright color that couldn’t be reproduced just by taking a picture. Green is also seen as a trustworthy color.
  4. The banknotes that we use today were first designed in the 1920s. At the time, currency designers didn’t think about the role women played in the nation’s history. They wanted to use currency as a way to honor the nation’s Founding Fathers.
  5. Answers will vary

(Click here to return to the questions!)

The future of this podcast starts with you.

It’s official: kids love “Million Bazillion®!” From fun, creative lessons about trade to silly skits about the foundation of our economy, our team is committed to making kids and their families smarter about all things money.

We know you wish you had this podcast when you were a kid—and now you can make it possible for a child in your life.

Support “Million Bazillion®” in any amount to make financial literacy accessible for the next generation.

The team

Jed Kim Host
Bridget Bodnar Co-Host
Sanden Totten Editor
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Donna Tam Executive Director of On-Demand
Chris Julin Sound Designer
Bekah Wineman Media Producer
Tiffany Bui Intern

Thanks to our sponsors