The dollar bill $ymbology

What you are about to read here is the story of the most famous currency in the world. So famous to have become a very requested tattoo subject…

Beyond the gold

The American dollar was officially born in the United States on 6th July 1785. In the beginning its value was determined by the cost of silver or gold, but just a couple of centuries later the gold standard was abolished by President Richard Nixon. With that risky economic move in 1971, Nixon transformed the dollar into a currency in its own right without any intrinsic value, even though the value of this currency has always tended to go hand in hand with the price of oil.

No women on green paper

It was President Abraham Lincoln who asked the Federal government to print the first greenbacks, those famous green 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bills we still know and use today. These banknotes have never featured the faces of women, so in March 2015 President Barack Obama, finally decided to review this equality issue when he received a letter from a little girl in Massachusetts asking him the reason why. Obama was so struck by the request that he has said he is confident that future 20 dollar bills may carry the face of a woman, also thanks to the efforts of the non-profit organisation Women on 20s.

Too much mysterious symbols

There is no doubt that the most common banknote in the western world and in the States too (the one dollar note) bears a number of mysterious symbols which according to all manner of conspiracy theories are actually subliminal messages designed to exert some nefarious influence on the man on the street. To the right of President George Washington, to make an example, there is a green circle with the symbol of the Department of the Treasury and its foundation date: 1789, the year Washington was elected. But that is also the year of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille. A revolution, according to revisionists, prepared ad hoc and following the preordained scheme of the Freemasonry.

Placaso, Electric Chair Tattoo, Los Angeles, USA
Placaso, Electric Chair Tattoo, Los Angeles, USA

The bald eagle and the 13 references

The first thing that you notice on the one dollar bill is the Bald Eagle (or Roman Eagle), the animal symbol of the United States, but also a divine creature which better than any other can soar to the heavens and monitor the movements of mankind from above. It holds a banner in its beak which reads ‘E Pluribus Unum’ which we could translate as ‘out of many, one’. In its left talons it holds thirteen arrows, in its right an olive branch bearing thirteen leaves. Where does this fixation with the number thirteen come from? Simple: first of all, thirteen was the number of states in the first American confederation, so that even the American flag was composed of thirteen red and white stripes.

Justin Hendrick, Players Club Tattoo Parlour, Huntington Beach, USA
Justin Hendrick, Players Club Tattoo Parlour, Huntington Beach, USA

The pyramid: an enigma started in 1933

Another equally fascinating symbol is the pyramid – or rather the square base of a pyramid – with an eye directly above it ( which you can see on the left of the dollar bill). It’s in fact the Pyramid of Control and above it is the “magical all-seeing eye”. The pyramid (in honour of the confederate states) has thirteen steps and has the Latin numerals at its base MDCCLXXVI (1776), aka the date of birth of the United States. The pyramid symbol was only added to the banknote in 1933 at the decree of the 31st president Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, it just so happened, was a 33rd Degree Mason…

Greg Nicholson, Evil Kolors, Langley, Canada
Greg Nicholson, Evil Kolors, Langley, Canada