Where does money get its distinctive smell?

I’ve always wondered what makes money smell the way it does, and how it retains it even through years of circulation. Is it the paper, something they do at the Federal Reserve Banks, or what?

“The world is everything that is the case.” --Ludwig Wittgenstein

I always thought it smelled like hands…

Well, both the paper and the ink are pretty unique, but I’m going to go with funneefarmer: money smells that way because it’s dirty from being handled by so many grubby hands.

I think the OP refers to the smell of new money, and that has everything to do with the paper and ink. The paper itself is very distinctive. It is made by only one company and is used exclusively for US currency. The high cotton fiber content gives currency paper a different aroma than, say, your average legal pad. That, in combination with the inks, creates that money smell.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

I was told that the fibers are bought from the Arrow Shirt Company. Any SD on that related thread?


If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel.

this is the SDMB after all . . . it’s only a matter of time before someone makes a joke about the role strip clubs have in this . . .

I just wanted to step in to say I saw it coming a mile away

Mayor of Snerdville, the home of Mortimer Snerd

“I’m just too much for human existence – I should be animated.”
–Wayne Knight

The paper is made by Crane, the smell is simply that of the engraving ink. It’s very intense because there’s so much of it on a small piece of paper.

Heavily circulated bills also seem to have a distinct scent, which is amazing considering all of the different people & places it winds up with/in.

It’s probably just the cumulative odor of hundreds & thousands & millions of dirty, grubby, nose-picking, but-scratching, disease-ridden hands. Don’t inhale too deeply…