I was watching the Food Network one day, the scene being one showing them making a 1-ton (907-kilogram) blob of dough. Which, besides the fact that that’s freaking amazing, it got me thinking: how much would 1 ton of dollars be worth? Specifically, I’m referring to the US Dollar; and as this was from a US television show, the variant of the “ton” here is the Short Ton, equivalent to 2 000 avoirdupois pounds-mass.

It turns out that this is actually a fairly common question: if I search for weight dollar bill (searching for mass dollar bill was less rewarding) & limiting my search results to just government sites using the qualifer site:gov, the top result is an informational page for kids by the Michigan state government called How Much Is a Ton of Money?

It quickly establishes a basic grounding for the question: all US banknotes weigh the same—approximately 1 gram—all quarters weigh 5.7 grams, and all one-cent coins weigh 2.5 grams. However, I like to think this is a (typically) serious blog, headed by a (typically) seriousbats**t crazy only slightly insane writer. And so, the little goblin in my head shouted to me in its high-pitched flute-voice, “Let’s go find us a real source!” And I agreed. How dare those monkeys steal my bananas… I mean, those were mine!

 

clears throat; straightens bowtie

 

But, alas, let us continue. Where was I? Ah, yes, currency.

I set off to find a better source, and so I did: according to the US Department of the Treasury (2nd question down), all legal-tender banknotes have weighed approximately the same since 1929, that is, about 1 gram.

So that part’s settled. Coins, however, are a bit less uniform. For them, I went to the United States Mint’s website and it turns out they have a handy little table detailing all the masses (among other data) of several different denominations—and it’s down to the thousandths place! Could I geek out now? I want to geek out now. Come on, it’s to the thousandths place! The thousandths place!

 

on the floor; out of breath

 

… …Okay; I’m fine. I did warn you, though, remember? Geekouts, man… Dangerous little critters…

Anyway, I aggregated the two sources’ data into the list and the tables below. (There wasn’t enough horizontal space on the screen for one table, so I had to split it into three.) And, according to these data, we can finally answer that beginning question that sparked this entire thought-stream: how much would a (short) ton of dollars be worth? And the answer, or rather, answers, are that one ton of dollars…

  • in one-cent coins is $ 3 630,
  • in nickels is $ 9 073,
  • in dimes is $ 39 921,
  • in quarters is $ 40 004,
  • in half-dollars is $ 40 004,
  • in dollar coins1 is $ 112 011,
  • in dollar bills is $ 907 287,
  • in two-dollar bills is $ 1.8 million,
  • in five-dollar bills is $ 4.5 million,
  • in ten-dollar bills is $ 9.1 million,
  • in twenty-dollar bills is $ 18 million,
  • in fifty-dollar bills is $ 45 million,
  • in hundred-dollar bills is $ 91 million,
  • in five-hundred-dollar bills2 is $ 454 million,
  • in thousand-dollar bills2 is $ 907 million,
  • in five-thousand-dollar bills2 is $ 4 536 million,
  • in ten-thousand-dollar bills2 is $ 9 073 million, and
  • in hundred-thousand-dollar bills3 is $ 90 729 million.

The most interesting thing I noticed when I compiled and analysed this information is that despite having a monetary difference of 25 cents between them, a ton of quarters and a ton of half-dollars (i.e., fifty-cent coins) are worth exactly the same: $ 40 004.

And therein lies one of the joys I have found in numismatics it is so much more complicated than it looks at the surface; it is often seen as merely a bunch of coins with imagery drawn or carved into its surface, something to be spent not scrutinised; and yet it has as great a complexity and diversity in the relationships between its parts as many other sciences.

In any case, feel free to check out the tables below! As well as containing the info expressed above, I also included the currency values of various other amounts of mass of each denomination listed therein. Let me know what you think, as this extra bit was all me!

 

Base Values

Type Denomination Unit Mass Unit Value
Coins
Cent 2.500 g $0.01
Nickel 5.000 g $0.05
Dime 2.268 g $0.10
Quarter 5.670 g $0.25
Half-Dollar 11.340 g $0.50
Dollar Coin1 8.1   g $1.00
Banknotes
Dollar Bill 1.000 g $1.00
Two-Dollar Bill 1.000 g $2.00
Five-Dollar Bill 1.000 g $5.00
Ten-Dollar Bill 1.000 g $10.00
Twenty-Dollar Bill 1.000 g $20.00
Fifty-Dollar Bill 1.000 g $50.00
Hundred-Dollar Bill 1.000 g $100.00
Five-Hundred-Dollar Bill2 1.000 g $500.00
Thousand-Dollar Bill2 1.000 g $1 000.00
Five-Thousand-Dollar Bill2 1.000 g $5 000.00
Ten-Thousand-Dollar Bill2 1.000 g $10 000.00
Hundred-Thousand-Dollar Bill3 1.000 g $100 000.00

 

Totals

Metric
Type Denomination Gram (g) Kilogram (kg) Tonne (t)
Coins
Cent $0.004 $4.000 $4 000.00
Nickel $0.010 $10.000 $10 000.00
Dime $0.044 $44.000 $44 000.00
Quarter $0.044 $44.092 $44 092.00
Half-Dollar $0.044 $44.092 $44 092.00
Dollar Coin1 $0.123 $123.457 $123 457.00
Banknotes
Dollar Bill $1.000 $1 000.00 $1 000 000.00
Two-Dollar Bill $2.000 $2 000.00 $2 000 000.00
Five-Dollar Bill $5.000 $5 000.00 $5 000 000.00
Ten-Dollar Bill $10.000 $10 000.00 $10 000 000.00
Twenty-Dollar Bill $20.000 $20 000.00 $20 000 000.00
Fifty-Dollar Bill $50.000 $50 000.00 $50 000 000.00
Hundred-Dollar Bill $50.000 $50 000.00 $50 000 000.00
Five-Hundred-Dollar Bill2 $500.000 $500 000.00 $500 000 000.00
Thousand-Dollar Bill2 $1 000.000 $1 000 000.00 $1 000 000 000.00
Five-Thousand-Dollar Bill2 $5 000.000 $5 000 000.00 $5 000 000 000.00
Ten-Thousand-Dollar Bill2 $10 000.000 $10 000 000.00 $10 000 000 000.00
Hundred-Thousand-Dollar Bill3 $100 000.000 $100 000 000.00 $100 000 000 000.00

 

Imperial
Type Denomination Ounce (oz) Pound (lb) Short Ton (sh tn) Long Ton (lg tn)
Coins
Cent $0.113 $1.815 $3 630.00 $4 065.00
Nickel $0.284 $4.536 $9 073.00 $10 162.00
Dime $1.248 $19.960 $39 921.00 $44 711.00
Quarter $1.250 $20.002 $40 004.00 $44 804.00
Half-Dollar $1.250 $20.002 $40 004.00 $44 804.00
Dollar Coin1 $3.500 $56.005 $112 011.00 $125 452.00
Banknotes
Dollar Bill $28.353 $453.643 $907 287.00 $1 016 161.00
Two-Dollar Bill $56.705 $907.287 $1 814 573.00 $2 032 322.00
Five-Dollar Bill $141.764 $2 268.00 $4 536 433.00 $5 080 805.00
Ten-Dollar Bill $283.527 $4 536.00 $9 072 866.00 $10 161 610.00
Twenty-Dollar Bill $578.054 $9 073.00 $18 145 733.00 $20 323 221.00
Fifty-Dollar Bill $1 418.00 $22 682.00 $45 364 332.00 $50 808 052.00
Hundred-Dollar Bill $2 835.00 $45 364.00 $90 728 665.00 $101 616 104.00
Five-Hundred-Dollar Bill2 $14 176.00 $226 822.00 $453 643 323.00 $508 080 522.00
Thousand-Dollar Bill2 $28 353.00 $453 643.00 $907 286 646.00 $1 016 161 043.00
Five-Thousand-Dollar Bill2 $141 764.00 $2 268 217.00 $4 536 433 229.00 $5 080 805 217.00
Ten-Thousand-Dollar Bill2 $283 527.00 $4 536 433.00 $9 072 866 459.00 $10 161 610 434.00
Hundred-Thousand-Dollar Bill3 $2 835 271.00 $45 364 332.00 $90 728 664 587.00 $101 616 104 338.00

 


1 Presidential, Native American series.

2 “Legal tender but no longer printed”.

3 “Not legal tender, but once issued under restricted circumstances”.

 



Image Credit: Scott Weston

Released under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Image filetype changed from JPG to PNG.

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