Investing 
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Single Letter Stock Tickers

LettersLast week, Pandora IPO’s on the stock market with a single letter stock ticker – P. It thus joined a “prestigious” group of fewer than 26 companies to have a single letter stock ticker. Other members include Agilent, Macy’s, Ford (back from the dead), and Visa.

Does it really matter if you have a single letter? In the days of the Pony Express and ticker tapes (hence the term “ticker”), heavily traded stocks were given single letters to speed things up. Nowadays, it’s just a vanity play since we don’t use ticker tapes. Or the Pony Express (though some would argue the state of our postal service… never mind).

That reduces the number of available single letter stock tickers to six (I, J, Q, U, W, Z), so if you’re planning an IPO and want to snag one of these, I’d move quickly!

Here are the current holders of single letter stock tickers (accurate as of June 2011):
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 Taxes 
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Fun Facts About the 2010 Tax Season

Taxes!If you’re a personal finance stats junkie like me, you’d love the IRS Data Book. It is chock full of fun and interesting statistics that give you a glimpse of one of the more private havens in one’s life – their tax return. While you can’t sneak a peek at your neighbor’s return, you can guess some interesting facts about American society through our tax returns.

I take a romp through the IRS Data Book and pull out a few fun statistics that I found interesting, or surprising, and I hope you enjoy them too. All of the data is taken from the Excel spreadsheets for Fiscal Year 2010 but they also issue a PDF that summarizes some of the higher level statistics.

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 Personal Finance 
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The Famous Faces on United States Money

Money!I know it’s been a while since I did something trivia related so I thought that we might do something a little fun today. I had a lot of fun putting together 50 fun facts about money and thought why not put together a post on all the faces you see on our money? It’s not 50 facts, these probably aren’t as much fun as they are “Hmm… I didn’t know that,” but hopefully you have a little fun, learn a little something, and enjoy!

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 Banking 
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More Fun Bank Failure Facts

Fail StampI really enjoy trivia posts and had a lot of fun researching facts to include on my fifty fun facts about bank failures post, so I thought I’d bring it back. This time I wanted to cut out all the other stuff, like FDIC insurance facts and “first bank failure” type facts, and just look at the list of failures themselves.

The statistics were calculated from the FDIC’s list of failed banks and we used data going back to 2000.

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 NEWS 
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Millionaire States in the United States

Did you know that in 2009 there were over five million millionaire households (5,129,385) in the United States? That’s 4.46% of all households and a number that is probably a lot higher than you expected, and a drop from the previous two years. In 2009 there were 5.6 million and nearly 6 million in 2007. Who knows what 2009 will bring but it’s still fun to look at statistics, even if you’re not a millionaire. Fortunately for us, our friends at Mainstreet had a fun little slideshow last week showing the states with the most and the fewest millionaires.

So, where are all the millionaires?

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 Personal Finance 
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Fun Trivia Facts about the $500 Bill

Nowadays the highest denomination bill you can find is the $100 but back in the early 20th century, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was printing bills as high as $100,000 (1934-35). There aren’t any high denomination bills left, after printing was officially discontinued in 1969 by President Nixon. It was an attempt to combat organized crime and there while they are still legal tender, their value to collectors far exceeds their face value nowadays. There aren’t many left though, so if you find one, take very good care of it!

Let’s have some fun facts!
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 Government 
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The Mints of the United States

United States One Dollar Proof CoinIf you’ve ever looked at a coin, chances are you’ve been interested in what was on it. There’s the year it was stamped, various Latin sayings, some images of buildings or famous individuals from US history, and there usually is a random letter. You probably know that the letter corresponds to the Mint facility that produced the coin, but what letter stands for what? How Mint facilities are there? Where are they located?

The United States Mint is the agency in the United States Government responsible for the production of coins used in the US. It was created in 1792 by the Coinage Age of 1792 and put within the State Department. Later that year, the Mint opened its main branch in Philadelphia, PA and soon expanded to include several facilities across the United States. In 1799, with the Coinage Act of 1873, it was made an independent agency.

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 Personal Finance 
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Most Valuable Regular U.S. Coin

Every time I get home, I pull out any change I have and throw it into a small container. As I was pulling out quarters to put in my car, I noticed a nickel that looked different from the one beside it. It was a 1941-P (it actually didn’t have a letter, which means it was minted in Philadelphia) and looked more gray than the 2001-P right next to it. Not being a numismatist, I searched online to see if there was anything special about it.

There wasn’t, it was just old and beat up. They wouldn’t be a little more special until mid-1942, until 1945) when “Wartime Nickels” were produced. Wartime nickels were made of 56% Copper, 35% Silver, and 9% Manganese rather than 75% Copper and 25% Nickel.

That led me to reading more about coins and learning about the most valuable regular U.S. coin. I wanted to find a coin you could conceivably have in your pocket or piggy bank and just not know. I wasn’t looking for the 1805 Silver Dollar, worth $10.1 million, or the 1933 Double Eagle, worth $8.5 million (more exceptionally valuable U.S. coins). If you have one of those, you know it.

No, I wanted a regular coin.
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