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). 

Why a Readily Available Used Paperback Is Selling for Thousands of Dollars on Amazon

At first glance, getting ahold of a copy of One Snowy Knight, a historical romance novel by Deborah MacGillivray, isn't hard at all. You can get the book, which originally came out in 2009, for a few bucks on Amazon. And yet according to one seller, a used copy of the book is worth more than $2600. Why? As The New York Times reports, this price disparity has more to do with the marketing techniques of Amazon's third-party sellers than it does the market value of the book.

As of June 5, a copy of One Snowy Knight was listed by a third-party seller on Amazon for $2630.52. By the time the Times wrote about it on July 15, the price had jumped to $2800. That listing has since disappeared, but a seller called Supersonic Truck still has a used copy available for $1558.33 (plus shipping!). And it's not even a rare book—it was reprinted in July.

The Times found similar listings for secondhand books that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than their market price. Those retailers might not even have the book on hand—but if someone is crazy enough to pay $1500 for a mass-market paperback that sells for only a few dollars elsewhere, that retailer can make a killing by simply snapping it up from somewhere else and passing it on to the chump who placed an order with them.

Not all the prices for used books on Amazon are so exorbitant, but many still defy conventional economic wisdom, offering used copies of books that are cheaper to buy new. You can get a new copy of the latest edition of One Snowy Knight for $16.99 from Amazon with Prime shipping, but there are third-party sellers asking $24 to $28 for used copies. If you're not careful, how much you pay can just depend on which listing you click first, thinking that there's not much difference in the price of used books. In the case of One Snowy Knight, there are different listings for different editions of the book, so you might not realize that there's a cheaper version available elsewhere on the site.

An Amazon product listing offers a mass-market paperback book for $1558.33.
Screenshot, Amazon

Even looking at reviews might not help you find the best listing for your money. People tend to buy products with the most reviews, rather than the best reviews, according to recent research, but the site is notorious for retailers gaming the system with fraudulent reviews to attract more buyers and make their way up the Amazon rankings. (There are now several services that will help you suss out whether the reviews on a product you're looking at are legitimate.)

For more on how Amazon's marketplace works—and why its listings can sometimes be misleading—we recommend listening to this episode of the podcast Reply All, which has a fascinating dive into the site's third-party seller system.

[h/t The New York Times]

5 Million Americans Will Cut Their Cable TV in 2018

The trend of media consumers ditching their cable boxes for streaming subscriptions doesn't appear to be slowing down. As Fast Company reports, more than 5 million Americans will pull the plug on pay TV in 2018 alone.

That number comes from a recent survey of 3385 people conducted by the management consultancy cg42. The most common reasons cord-cutters gave for their decision all had to do with money: They cited annoying hidden fees, the waste of paying for channels they never watch, and the high price of cable bills in general.

The price of cable and satellite TV continues to skyrocket, costing customers $101 a month on average in 2017, up by 53 percent since 2007. For comparison, many streaming services charge subscribers the same amount in a year.

If cg42's projections are correct, 685 percent more consumers will cut the cord on cable this year compared to 2016. That loss comes out to about $5.5 billion for cable companies, with Comcast alone predicted to lose 7.2 percent of its customers and $1.6 billion in revenues.

If you're among the millions of American consumers fed up with cable, there are plenty of other options available. Consider signing up for one of these services if you're finally ready to make the switch.

[h/t Fast Company]


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