Sunday, November 13, 2005

Follow the Money with “Where Is George”

I received a five-dollar bill with a URL written along the top:

That’s George as in Washington, man on the U.S. one-dollar bill. The site is a collective exercise in tracking individual bills as they circulate. You can enter the serial number and series number of any major U.S. bill.

I did so for the bill with the URL on it. The bill had previously been tracked in Portland, Oregon, 20 days before. It had traveled an average of 25 miles per day.

The Oregonian who entered the bill had a profile. He is the night manager of an inn, and thus sees a lot of new bills. He has entered more than 1,000 bills, with only 8 follow-on hits so far. I’m number nine. The site will automatically notify him of the location I entered for the bill.

Take a look at one of the site’s all-time distance leaders: a bill that as of November 2005 has traveled more than four thousands miles over three years. Starting from the northern tip of Michigan, it went west to Panguitch, Utah, then south to the western tip of Florida, by way of several stops in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Having subsequently been tracked in Kentucky and Tennessee, its latest sighting was Dayton, Ohio.

To do my bit for the collective effort, I entered the other two bills in my wallet at the time. Follow the money.


  1. Perhaps the most travelled bills are, in fact, counterfeit. There might be five bills with the same serial number that are being tracked.