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How Many Ways can You Make Change for a Dollar?

No kidding, there are 293 ways to make change for a US dollar. A music theory teacher at Carnegie Mellon named Joshua Yohe designed a computer program to prove it. There are two ways to make change using all the US coins (excluding, of course, the Sacajawea dollar coin): 1 half-dollar, 1 quarter, 1 dime, 2 nickels and 5 pennies; or, 1 half-dollar, 1 quarter, 1 dime, 1 nickel and 10 pennies.

More Change Facts:

  • At one time, there were two varieties of 5-cent pieces circulated in the US — one was a tiny silver coin called a "half dime," and the other was a larger coin made of, you guessed it, nickel.

  • The people featured on coins are usually deceased, but not always. The first person to be featured on a coin while still alive was Thomas Kilby, the governor of Alabama; he appeared on the 1921 Alabama Centennial Half Dollar. Also, only one US President has been featured on a coin while still alive: Calvin Coolidge. He was featured on the 1926 Sesquicentennial of American Independence Half Dollar.

  • During World War II, it would have taken a bit more concentration to make change for a dollar. Copper, which us what pennies are made from, was needed for the war effort; because of that, pennies were minted from zinc. The size of a penny already is pretty close to a dime; adding the silver-colored zinc to the mix made telling a dime and a penny apart rather difficult.
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