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15 Microprints Hiding in United States Currency

Even in the age of credit cards and online payments, most of us still handle legal tender every single day without ever stopping to look more closely at how money is designed. You probably hadn't noticed, for example, that most notes boast tiny words scattered about the larger images. Here are 15 of those hidden microprints. A word of warning if you’re a hands-on type who’s pulling out his or her wallet right about now: you’re going to need a microscope.

The $5 Bill

1. Along the left and right borders are the words "FIVE DOLLARS".

2. There's an "E PLURIBUS UNUM" at the top of the shield within the Great Seal and "USA" repeated in between the columns of the shield.

3. On the back, "USA FIVE" appears along one edge of the purple number five.

4. The actual Lincoln Memorial has state names engraved on it, which also appear on the back of the bill.


The $10 Bill

5. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "TEN DOLLARS" reside below the portrait...

6. ... as well as inside the borders of the note.

7. "USA 10" is repeated beneath the torch.

The $20 bill:

8.  There's a "USA20" along the border of the first three letters of the blue "TWENTY USA" ribbon, to the right of Jackson's portrait.


9. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 20 USA 20 USA" appears in black in the border below the Treasurer’s signature (there's also a "20" between the two and zero, and "USA" in the circle of the zero).


The $50 Bill

10. To the left of the portrait, there's a "FIFTY," "USA," and "50" inside two of the blue stars to the left of the portrait (one just to the left of the Federal Reserve seal and one just to the right). There's also "FIFTY" repeated within the border of the note.


11. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" hides in President Grant’s collar.


The $100 Bill:

12, 13, 14, and 15. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" rests on Benjamin Franklin’s jacket collar, there's a "USA 100" around the blank space containing the portrait watermark, "ONE HUNDRED USA" along the golden quill, and "100" repeating along the borders of the bill. (You'll really need a magnifying glass—and $100 bill—for this one, as high resolution images are hard to find). 


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Weird
Switzerland Flushes $1.8 Million in Gold Down the Sewer Every Year
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Switzerland has some pretty valuable sewer systems. As Bloomberg reports, scientists have discovered around $1.8 million worth of gold in the country's wastewater, along with $1.7 million worth of silver.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology examined sewage sludge and effluents, or discharged liquid waste, from 64 water treatment plants and major Swiss rivers. They did this to assess the concentrations of various trace elements, which are "increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors," the scientists explained in a press statement. "While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater."

The study, which was recently published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed that around 94 pounds of gold makes its way through Switzerland's sewage system each year, along with 6600 pounds of silver and high concentrations of rare metals like gadolinium and niobium. For the most part, these metals don't harm the environment, researchers say.

With gold and silver quite literally flowing through their sewers, is there any way that Switzerland could turn their wastewater into wealth? Scientists are skeptical: "The recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted," the release explains.

However, in the southern canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries, the "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile," they conclude.

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, watches, and mountains, but it's also home to major gold refineries. On average, around 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Switzerland every year—and judging from the looks of it, much of it goes down the drain. As for the sewer silver, it's a byproduct of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is a cornerstone of Switzerland's economy.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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Lists
14 Things You Owned in the '70s That are Worth a Fortune Now
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DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

From old toys and housewares to books and records, these pieces of '70s memorabilia have aged (and increased in value) like fine wine.

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