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Coins of the United States Dollar


Really understanding the value of money is very important. You need to know what the different kinds of money look like, and what value they have. What can you buy for 10 dollars? What can you buy for 200 dollars? How much does a pair of sneakers cost? How much does it cost to feed a family for a month? How much does it cost to play hockey, football or tennis?

We have two types of money: Coins and banknotes. You have definitely seen coins before. Maybe you even have some in your piggy bank at home? You will learn about coins first, then you will learn about banknotes.

Being able to count money means that you understand what value coins and notes have, and what you can spend the money on.

Here is a drawing of some of the coins you have in the United States:

Four coins of different value

Think About This

The money used in the United States is called the United States dollar. It’s called the United States dollar and not just dollar because a bunch of other countries also use money called dollar, except it’s different from the American one.

People who live in the United States just say dollar when they talk about money. When we write about dollar, we write this symbol: “$”. This is the symbol you will see when we talk about US dollars going forward.

The 1-cent coin (“penny”) is the coin with the lowest value. 1 cent is one hundredth of a dollar, which means that there are 100 cents in 1 dollar, 100¢ = $1. The 5-cent coin (“nickel”) is worth as much as five 1-cent coins. It is the same way for the other coins as well. The 10-cent coin (“dime”) is worth the same as two 5-cent coins. The 25-cent coin (“quarter”) is worth the same as two 10-cent coins and one 5-cent coin.

The 50-cent coin (“half dollar”) is worth the same as two 25-cent coins. The dollar coin is worth the same as two 50-cent coins. Neither of these coins is used that much, so we won’t show them in the examples below.

The relationship between values of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter

Example 1

One piece of gum costs $0.30. What coins can you use to buy the gum?

You can write $0.30 like this:

$0.30 = 30¢ = 25¢ + 5¢

That means you can use one 25-cent coin and one 5-cent coin to pay for the gum.

Example 2

A lollipop costs $0.37. What coins can you use to buy the lollipop?

You can write $0.37 like this:

$0.37 = 37¢ = 25¢ + 10¢ + 1¢ + 1¢

That means you can use one 25-cent coin, one 10-cent coin and two 1-cent coins to pay for the lollipop.

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Banknotes of the United States Dollar