Have you ever wondered about the back of a $1 bill?

Point to a spot on the note, and click for a description,
or click here to see the front:

Great Seal of the United States (front)
The Great Seal of the United States, adopted in 1782, is the only government seal in the world having two sides. The face depicts an American eagle, representing national sovereignty, which is breasted by our national shield. The eagle is holding in its right talon an olive branch of 13 leaves and 13 olives symbolizing peace. In the left talon are 13 arrows signifying the original colonies' fight for liberty. A ribbon held in the eagle's beak is inscribed, "E Pluribus Unum," or "One out of many," in reference to the unity of the 13 colonies as one government. Over the eagle's head is a grouping of 13 stars wreathed in clouds, again representing the original colonies.
Click here for much more detail on the Great Seal.
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Great Seal of the United States (reverse)
The pyramid, on the reverse of the Great Seal, represents permanence and strength. Its unfinished condition indicates that the United States will always grow, build, and improve with a continuous evaluation of Truth. The thirteen layers of stone in the pyramid refer to the thirteen Original States and the individual rights of States. The separate stones represent local self-government.

The words "Annuit Coeptis" (thirteen letters) mean "God has favored our undertakings," or "enterprise." At the bottom are the words "Novus Ordo Seclorum," meaning the "New Order of the Ages." At the base of the pyramid is the Roman inscription of "1776," the year our country was founded.

The "Eye of Providence" within a glory of light placed above the pyramid illustrates the spiritual above the material. It also represents education and freedom of knowledge.
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In God We Trust
A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 11, 1955. It said that the motto should appear on all United States paper currency and coins. This law provides that:

At such time as new dies for the printing of currency are adopted in connection with the current program of the Treasury Department to increase the capacity of presses utilized by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the dies shall bear, at such place or places thereon as the Secretary of the Treasury may determine to be appropriate, the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST, and thereafter this inscription shall appear on all United States currency and coins.

On July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957.
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Plate Serial Numbers
The small digit or series of digits in the lower right corner on the face and back of the note indicates the serial number of the plate from which a note was printed.
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© Copyright 2001 Ron Pfiester. All rights reserved.
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