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How Much Does a Million Dollars Weigh?

Written by Nickel - 16 Comments

One of the comments to my earlier post about the price of Super Bowl Ads referred to $2.5 million as ‘a ton of money.’ This got me to thinking — how much does a million dollars weigh? I poked around the web a bit and found a site that claimed that a dollar bill weighs one gram. But you can’t really trust random stuff that you read on the internet, now, can you? So I decided to investigate this myself…

While it might have been easiest to drop by the bank, withdraw a million bucks, and weigh it, I didn’t have time to get to the bank. ;) So I did the next best thing… I weighed some money (a lot less than a million dollars) and then whipped out a calculator. First off, how much does a dollar bill weigh? I weighed ten singles and found that the internet was right. They weighed in at a total of 9.83 grams, just shy of a gram apiece (I’m assuming that these were a bit light due to wear and tear).

So, a million bucks in one dollar bills… That would be one million grams, a thousand kilograms, or one metric ton. Don’t you just love the symmetry of that? A million bucks weighs a metric ton. But we’re in the United States, so we need to do a bit more math. A kilogram is roughly 2.2 pounds, so 1000 kg works out to just a bit over 2200 pounds. According to a handy-dandy unit converter that I ran across, it’s actually 2204.622622 pounds, but we’re not doing rocket science, so we’ll just call it an even 2200.

Keeping in mind that a US ton is 2000 pounds, we can conclude that a million dollars would weigh in at roughly 1.1 US tons. So that means that you would’ve had to tote 2.75 tons of one dollar bills down to ABC headquarters if you had wanted to buy a 30 second Super Bowl ad. But not everyone hauls around their millions in one dollar bills. If you opted for $100 bills, we’d be talking about 10 kg/million (just a bit over 22 pounds), which is nowhere near a ton (US, metric or otherwise).

So there you have it. A bit of useless trivia to brighten your day.

Update: Yes, a check would be lighter. Much, much lighter. But everybody knows that checks and identity theft go hand in hand. So… I definitely think it’s worth the trouble to carry around all those singles instead. ;)

Published on February 7th, 2006
Modified on May 21st, 2009 - 16 Comments
Filed under: Miscellany

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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16 Responses to “How Much Does a Million Dollars Weigh?”

  1. 1
    FMF Says:

    How much does a check for $1 million weigh? ;-)

  2. 2
    Blog Mike Says:

    Here is some fun reading about how much a million dollars is:

    http://www.cockeyed.com/inside.....llion.html

  3. 3
    The Comedian Says:

    Legend has it that the standard Zero Halliburton aluminum attache was sized to hold a million dollars in hundred dollar bills.

    Sadly, I’ve never had a chance to test.

  4. 4
    911 was an inside job Says:

    I cant belive the US shipped 363 tons! of $100 bills to Iraq! and handed it all out and didn’t Acount for any of it! Fricken cowboys!

    thats 4 BILLION!

  5. 5
    daniel j. diehl Says:

    Can you tell me how high a stack on $1,000 bills would be to make a billion $ better yet
    a trillion $. I am trying to figure how far we are in debt.

  6. 6
    bo brown Says:

    High, I have question. I have alot of change, quarters, dimes and nickels and i was wondering if you can tell how much you have in vaule by weight? you know if you had five pounds of quarters how much would you have and the same goes for nickels, dimes and pennys. if you can break that down for me i would be grateful. Thank you

  7. 7
    Sneeze Whiz Says:

    I am grateful for your research. My local NPR station ran a news story that included an anecdote from a real estate broker about selling a house for $600,000.00 in singles and carrying the bag into the bank.
    I doubt the woman carried a duffel bag weighing 1300 lbs.

  8. 8
    Fred Says:

    Interesting that I found this article because of a comment on CSI NY about how a car with $2 million dollars in it would leave heavier tire tracks… Of course that’s assuming it was $2M in ones, which is slightly ridiculous. Most likely it would be a bunch of 20’s with maybe some 10’s and 5’s and some 100’s.

    So a million dollars of 1’s would weigh 1000kg but a million dollars worth of, say, 20’s would be 1/20th of that or 50kg and I don’t think that a bit more than 100 pounds would make that much of a difference on the depth of some tire tracks.

  9. 9
    Jere Says:

    In the movie “Pelham 123″ John Travolta’s character make a reference the the fact you’d need a Wheelbarrow to carry $10,000,000 in 100’s. Stating that it 220 lbs. Using your formula that is completely accurate. Nice to see that someone in Hollywood researches shit.

  10. 10
    Hefeweisen Says:

    You’re all close, but not quite. I have actually weighed one million dollars in $100 bills, it was precisely 21 pounds 4 ounces on a very accurate digital scale. We even broke it down into smaller amounts and then added them back together to double check the accuracy and it was always 21 pounds 4 ounces.

  11. 11
    richard woodell Says:

    Interesting and very informative. Let’s push the envelope a little higher.

    How much is one TRILLION dollars? ($1,000,000,000,000)
    One trillion dollars, stretched end to end, would form
    a line 97,064,393 miles long! It would weigh approximately 1,020,400 tons!

    Assuming you could find a crane to lift it, you could aim it at the sun, and it would penetrate it!

    If you cashed a trillion dollars at your local bank, and they geve it to you on one hundred dollar bills. You could give it to your grandson at the time of his birth. If you told him to spend $100 every second, he would be 317 years old when hw ran out of money!

    Change we caqn believe in@

  12. 12
    richard woodell Says:

    To answer Daniel Diehl’question:

    One trillion dollars in thousand dollar bills.
    (Assuming, of course, the U.S. Mint still made them)
    would form a column approximately 60 miles high.
    That’s the height of 215 Empire State Buildings!

  13. 13
    Miriam Says:

    How about in pennies..? ;)

  14. 14
    MIchael Dunn Says:

    But our national debt would weigh 35 billion pounds in one dollar bills and stacked flat would reach to the moon and back about ten times and amounts to about $200,000 per family of four and the interest alone per family of four is about $150 per month. With due respect to Richard, a trillion dollars laid flat would be over 300,000 miles high

    NICE!!!

  15. 15
    John h Says:

    Michael it is actually a little more than 2000 miles considering that us bills are .0043 millimeters thick

  16. 16
    nick Says:

    So what combination of denominations would you have to use to make 2.5 million dollars a ton?

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