DEFINITION of 'Dead Presidents'

Slang referring to U.S. paper currency. Dead presidents can refer to any unit of currency, but most often refers to George Washington, whose picture is on the $1 bill. Therefore an item that costs six dead presidents would mean that it costs $6.

BREAKING DOWN 'Dead Presidents'

During the Civil War, the Union Congress ordered the printing of half a million 5-cent notes due to a shortage of the metals used to produce traditional coinage. However, when the notes appeared to the public, the engraved portrait on the bill was of someone named Spencer M. Clark. Naturally, no one in the Union (or anywhere else) had any idea who this was. An investigation quickly revealed that Lincoln had appointed him as the first superintendent of the National Currency Bureau. Because Congress had not specified that any particular historical figure be placed upon the bill, he had simply taken the liberty of putting his own picture there. Needless to say, Congress was furious. They immediately enacted a law stipulating that from that point on, any person who appeared on the face of any U.S. currency had to be famous -and dead.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Dead Money

    A slang term for money invested in a security with minor hopes ...
  2. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, ...
  3. Drop Dead Fee

    Fee paid by a borrower to a lender when an acquisition deal falls ...
  4. Drop Dead Date

    A provision in a contract or agreement that stipulates a finite ...
  5. U.S. Bureau Of Engraving And Printing ...

    A U.S. government agency responsible for printing the paper currency, ...
  6. Dead Hand Provision

    A stipulation on a defense mechanism (or poison pill) used by ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    The Dead Cat Bounce: A Bear In Bull's Clothing?

    Make sure you know the difference between a change in market outlook and short-term recovery.
  2. Insights

    What's a Dead Cat Bounce? InvestoTrivia

    Quiz: What does the financial phrase "Dead Cat Bounce" mean?
  3. Insights

    How Currency Works

    Currency offers key advantages over economies based on direct trade. It provides sellers with a broader market for their goods and services. It is also a durable asset for people to accumulate ...
  4. Trading

    The History Of Money: Currency Wars

    Find out how conflicts have changed the role money plays in our lives.
  5. Investing

    What Is A Currency War And How Does It Work?

    We look at what a currency war is, what factors may lead to it, the impacts of such a strategy, and whether there is a currency war currently.
  6. Investing

    A Look At National Debt And Government Bonds

    Learn the functions of the U.S. Treasury, and find out how and why it issues debt.
  7. Financial Advisor

    Trump vs. Clinton: Who's Better for the Markets?

    Who is likely to be a more market-friendly president, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?
  8. Trading

    The Effects Of Currency Fluctuations On The Economy

    Currency fluctuations are a natural outcome of the floating exchange rate system that is the norm for most major economies. The exchange rate of one currency versus the other is influenced by ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is dead money?

    Dead money is a common term used on Wall Street to describe money that does not earn a return for an investor. It could be ... Read Answer >>
  2. What does a Dead Cat Bounce pattern tells traders about a stock?

    Identify the small rally characteristic of a dead cat bounce pattern as a technical trading pattern indicative of a strong, ... Read Answer >>
  3. How can a trader profit from a Dead Cat Bounce pattern?

    Profit from the dead cat bounce chart pattern by using the small, short-lived move upward to initiate a low-risk short position ... Read Answer >>
  4. Who sets fiscal policy, the president or congress?

    Discover how fiscal policy is set in the United States, including how all three branches of government can affect a given ... Read Answer >>
  5. Who uses bills of exchange?

    Find out who uses bills of exchange, why they are important in international trade and what happens when a bill is traded ... Read Answer >>
  6. Why is the British pound / U.S. dollar currency pair known as "trading the cable"?

    The British pound / U.S. dollar currency pair is one of the oldest and most widely-traded currency pairs in the world. The ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Graduate Management Admission Test - GMAT

    A standardized test intended to measure a test taker's aptitude in mathematics and the English language. The GMAT is most ...
  2. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
  3. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  4. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  5. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  6. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
Trading Center