When I was growing up in the US, all dollar bills were green. That’s just the way money was – it was green. Everyone knows that. Hence the name “greenbacks.”
Well, not so in the rest of the world. When I moved to Canada at 18, one of the first things I noticed was the technicolor currency – the bills were red, blue, green, purple, and gold. They looked like monopoly money to me. When I moved to Europe at 20, and started to visit more countries (these were the days before the widespread use of the Euro), I learned that most national currencies are as colorful as a pack of crayons. The dull dollar is the odd one out.
But, it seems like the Federal Reserve has gotten a bit more artistic since 1999. Starting in 2003, the “new” $20 bill subtly introduced background colors and represented the first time in modern American history that US bills incorporated colors other than black and green. Soon after, the US government also redesigned the $50, $10, $5, and now $100 bills to add color.
Apparently the last time US paper money was printed with background color was in 1905, when the so-called $20 Gold Certificate flashed a gold tint and red seal… now isn’t that baller?