Dead Presidents


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.

  1. USD (United States Dollar)

    The currency abbreviation for the United States dollar (USD), ...
  2. Hard Currency

    A currency, usually from a highly industrialized country, that ...
  3. Currency

    A generally accepted form of money, including coins and paper ...
  4. Confederate Dollar

    A currency issued by the Confederate States of America during ...
  5. Soft Currency

    A currency with a value that fluctuates as a result of the country's ...
  6. XCD (Eastern Caribbean Dollar)

    The currency abbreviation or the currency symbol for the Eastern ...
Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Hedge Against Exchange Rate Risk With Currency ETFs

    Currency moves are unpredictable and can have an adverse effect on portfolio returns. Find out how to protect yourself.
  2. Forex Education

    Profiting From A Weak U.S. Dollar

    Learn how to allocate your investments when the U.S. dollar is down.
  3. Forex Education

    Top 7 Questions About Currency Trading Answered

    Whether you're puzzled by pips or curious about carry trades, your queries are answered here.
  4. Forex Education

    Dollarization Explained

    Find out how fledgling economies can find some stability in their currency and attract foreign investment.
  5. Bonds & Fixed Income

    6 Factors That Influence Exchange Rates

    Find out how a currency's relative value reflects a country's economic health and impacts your investment returns.
  6. Forex Education

    History Of Coinage In The U.S.

    From the barter system to commemorative coins, we look at the history of U.S. money.
  7. Forex Education

    Make The Currency Cross Your Boss

    Tap into a world of possibilities by going beyond the simple pro- or anti-dollar trade.
  8. Forex Education

    3 Factors That Drive The U.S. Dollar

    We look at three important factors that affect U.S. dollar value, and how to determine when it's the right time to buy currency.
  9. Options & Futures

    How U.S. Firms Benefit When The Dollar Falls

    When the greenback is weak, smart investors will invest in multinational companies to benefit.
  10. Investing

    How Worried Should We Be About China?

    An economic slowdown, a freezing up in trade and plunging markets and currencies are casting a shadow across Asia—and the globe. How worried should we be?
  1. What are soft dollars?

    The term soft dollars refers to the payments made by mutual funds (and other money managers) to their service providers. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Who decides when to print money in India?

    The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, manages currency in India. The bank's additional responsibilities include regulating the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How is a block chain network useful for trading goods and assets in virtual currencies?

    Perhaps the most famous quote associated with blockchain technology came from an anonymous virtual currency user, who described ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What types of companies benefit from reporting results utilizing constant currencies ...

    Any company that does a substantial amount of business in foreign countries, and is therefore subject to foreign currency ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are key benefits to a country that has engaged in a policy of currency depreciation?

    In the modern world, most currencies represent fiat money not backed by any commodity or precious metal and whose value is ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does a block chain prevent double-spending of Bitcoins?

    Double-spending – the incidence of one individual successfully spending a Bitcoin balance more than once – is a major concern ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  2. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  3. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  4. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  5. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  6. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!