|Front of bill: first president, George Washington|
|Back of bill: a design which incorporates the Great Seal of the U.S.|
|This is the first $1 bill, issued in 1862. It had a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, the Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln.|
The one dollar note / silver certificate / dollar bill has gone through more than a dozen changes since the first bill was issued in 1862.It has at times carried images of Salmon P. Chase, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Martha Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant, before settling on the current design (the back of the bill debuting in 1935, the front in 1963).
People often speculate about the meaning in the designs on the back of the $1 bill, the Great Seal of the United States.
The front of the seal shows an American bald eagle behind our national shield. The eagle holds an olive branch, which symbolizes peace, with 13 berries and 13 leaves. In the left talon, the eagle holds 13 arrows, which represents war. The 13 leaves represent the original colonies. The eagle’s head is turned toward the olive branch, showing a desire for peace.
The top of the shield represents the Congress, the head of the eagle the Executive branch, and the nine tail feathers the Judiciary branch of our government. The 13-letter motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” on the ribbon held in the eagle’s beak means “Out of Many, One.”
On the reverse of the seal is a pyramid with 1776 in Roman numerals at the base. The pyramid stands for permanence and strength. The pyramid is unfinished, signifying the United States’ future growth and goal of perfection. A sunburst and an eye are above the pyramid, representing the overseeing eye of a deity. The 13-letter motto, “Annuit Coeptis” means “He has favored our undertakings.” Below the pyramid the motto, “Novus Ordo Seclorum” means “A new order of the ages,” standing for the new American era.