It turns out $1 bills are worth less than the paper they’re printed on.
So-called “paper money” is composed of 75% cotton and 25% linen. This means that money printers are being badly hit by the global increase in cotton prices. In 2010, the cost of making one bill was 50% more than it had been in 2008. That’s a hell of a leap for such a little piece of “paper”.
Multiply a 50% increase (to 9.6 cents per note) by the 6.4 billion new currency notes that were printed last year, and you get a very expensive way of making money. In 2008 printing cash only cost 6.4 cents per bill. But although the cost of the cotton is a significant factor in the price of producing dollar notes, it represents “less than half the total cost” of the notes, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. For many reasons, paper bills are just more hassle than they’re worth.