The Mysterious Origins of American Money“There are mysteries connected with the birth of this republic.” – Charles A. L. Totten
The American dollar bill is a common object, crossing our palms so frequently in fact, that it may never get the closer attention and inspection it deserves. Stop reading for a moment, and go grab a dollar bill, so that you can follow along while we take a deeper look at some intricate images and explore the hidden symbolism you are holding in your hand.
The Great Seals
In 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the design of a new American dollar bill, in which he instructed that the Great Seal of the United States be incorporated. Not surprisingly, the designers were Freemasons, which explains the Masonic symbolism that was carefully incorporated into the design process.
The great pyramid with the all-seeing eye (or the Eye of Providence) represents the left eye. According to Egyptian beliefs, the left eye is linked with the moon and intuition. This pyramid is crafted from a total of 72 complete bricks, a sacred Masonic number, as there are 72 ways of pronouncing and calling upon God. In the Masonic studies, 72 was understood to be the rate of procession of the sun, at a rate of one degree every 72 years. This mysterious pyramid, a unique and well recognized Masonic symbol, suggests that the building of the pyramid will be completed with the assistance of an all-seeing God.
This message is further conveyed in the national motto “In God We Trust,” seen above the word “ONE.” At the base of the pyramid are the Roman numerals MDCCLXXVI, translating to 1776, the year when the United States was founded by the thirteen colonies, implying that the US is akin to the building of “the pyramid.”
In the seal on the left, containing the great pyramid, is the Latin phrase “Annuit Coeptis,” a famous writing from a Roman poet, in which a prayer is made to the God Jupiter. This phrase translates into “He favors our undertaking.” The Latin phrase “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” also seen beneath the pyramid, translates to “a new order of the ages,” a phrase which represents the prophecy of the second coming of Christ.
On the ribbon above the Eagle in the seal on the right is the Latin phrase, “E pluribus unum,” which translates to “Out of many, the one.”
The only motto in English is the national motto, “In God We Trust,” as seen above the bold “ONE” on the back center of the bill.
Ever wonder if there is something to George Washington’s pursed lips, which almost appear as if he is frowning? When this portrait was commissioned, Washington had recently been fitted with a new set of false teeth. Posing for the portrait, under intense pain and swelling, the result was this tight-lipped expression.
The oval frame around the portrait of Washington is in fact the Greek letter Omega, the final letter of the Greek alphabet, which was later adopted by Christians as a symbol of “the end.” This portrait and framework suggest that Washington’s spirit is guiding the destiny of America.
The eye of Washington is placed in the exact center of the bill, mimicking the image of the all seeing eye on the back of the bill. Was this placement meant to suggest that Washington should be honored as a God?
On the front on the bill, within the green seal on the right, identified as The “Department of the Treasury,” are thirteen stars, which were referred to as “constellations” by the Masonic designers. The idea of thirteen may have also derived from an older version of the U.S. flag, which contained thirteen stars, and thirteen stripes. These thirteen stars, which separate the images of a scale and key, are to be interpreted as “balance is key.”
On the back of the bill are thirteen more stars, found above the head of the eagle within the Great Seal. Upon closer inspection, you will see that these thirteen stars form one large six pointed star, also known as the Seal of Solomon or the Star of David.
The Number 13
- 13 letters in the motto “E pluribus unum”
- 13 stars, or constellations
- 13 leaves on the olive branch in the Great Seal in the claw of the Eagle
- 13 arrows in the Great Seal in the claw of the Eagle
- 13 vertical, and 13 horizontal divisions on the shield on the Eagle
Are you amazed? Keep in mind that this is just some of the symbolism on the surface, visible to the eye. There is even more information and mystery if you choose to deepen your knowledge on this subject. The Internet will be a great resource for you. Once you have had a chance to inspect some of these mysterious, symbolic, and down-right fascinating images yourself, you’ll realize that the common American dollar bill is worth a lot more that its monetary value!