All About C-Notes, Sawbucks And Other Misc Notes

I sent one of the neighbor kids on an errand the other day.  I guess he's not really a kid, as he has his first car, so we'll just call him a young adult.

I really didn't need anything, but he's just gotten his first car.  He picked up a Chevy Malibu from the government owned car company, and he's been out trying to impress everyone by racing the engine, thus disturbing my slumber.  I can't blame him much.  I remember many days when I would annoy anybody I could by revving an engine.  But back then, they were real cars and not the ridiculous, overpriced and underpowered, contraptions they sell nowadays.

Young adults, these days, miss out on so much.  They don't know what a real car is.

I guess they also don't know about money as well, for desiring to return to my nap, I called him over and said,  "Here's a sawbuck, how about pointing that Chevy towards town and picking me up a box of nails".  He glanced at me with a confused look as he grabbed the ten spot and questioned, "Sawbuck?".

So here's some misc. notes about Notes, or how real "young adults" used to talk back when they were still able to drive real cars.

A "sawbuck", of course, is a ten dollar bill.  Back in the days, money had roman numerals and the X appeared similar to a sawbuck, thus the nickname.

A twenty dollar bill, being twice the amount of a ten, was called a "double sawbuck".  So when your annoying brother in-law dropped by to borrow a double sawbuck, he was looking for a twenty so he could spend the evening in the local gin mill.

A $5 dollar bill was always called a "fin".  Why?  I don't know and never thought about it.

A "C-Note" meant that you had hit the jackpot, being a $100 bill.  There was a time when that was a lot of money, particularly if you were young and just starting out in life.  Getting your first C-Note was always a great thrill and something to brag about.

And, just to raise the dander of you politically correct folks, "pushing the queer" referred to counterfeiting.

That's pretty much the basics and should get you through any of the good old gangster films.

As I explained it all to the neighbor kid, and being as perceptive as I am, I noticed he was anxiously waiting to get a word in and muck up my entire teaching moment, so I dragged him into the house by the arm to show him something I knew would keep him quiet for awhile. 

That would be my genuine $1000 bill that I keep around for a rainy day, though it's also useful for quieting down "young adults" who think they know enough about life to impress people by talking nonsense.  After taking a few minutes to convince them that it's not fake, there's usually a few moments of amazed silence as most people have never seen one before.

The days were that the politicians trusted their constituents in this country, and larger denomination bills were readily available even if the average person never had them.  $500 were the most prevalent, but I've heard that they were available in demonimations up to "ten grand" (being $10,000).

The notes are still legal currency although the government took them out of circulation in the late 1960's, apparently because of organized crime.  As far as I know, you can't get them from a bank anymore, although I'm sure they probably have some collector value.  I'll probably have to lend it to the neighbor kid though, when he has to replace the rubber bands in that government car of his.

Phineous Zivick Huntington
February 15, 2010


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