How much is inside that stack of money on Breaking Bad?
Spoiler Alert. This article spoils a scene in the middle of the fifth season of the television show Breaking Bad.
Please scroll down if you don't care about the spoiler, or if you are all caught up on watching Breaking Bad.
The scene in question features two criminals pondering a large pile of money. They discuss how much money might be in the pile, but are uncertain as to how to arrive at the total, because the stacks are of mixed denominations: $20s, $50s and $100 bills.
It is clear that they don't feel like counting it.
The sum is not revealed in the episode, nor in the behind-the scenes video on AMC's website.
Before I continue, please guess how much money is in that pile:
Width and depth were fairly easy to count, despite criss-crossed bundles littered across the top of the pile. It wasn't possible to determine exactly how many stacks high the pile was, but I know that cash bundles are one centimeter thick. The side views of the stack, showing a stack a little more than two feet tall, led me to conclude that the stack of money is 67 bundles tall.
Man. That's a lot of money. It only takes 100 bundles of $100 bills to make a million dollars. If these 10,050 bundles were all $100s, This stack would be worth $100,500,000!
However, they are not all $100 bills.
There are $100 bundles, $50 bundles, and $20 bundles making up this large stack.
I had assumed that any drug dealer would prefer to have stacks of 100s for his stash, but realistically it would be easier to just hold on to whatever you took in, rather than going through the trouble of changing the denominations of bundles you didn't prefer.
So, I took a sample, using the top layer, where the video clearly shows 71 bundles. I marked them with large numbers above for ease of viewing.
52 bundles are 50s, 10 bundles are 20s, and 9 bundles are of 100s. That's 73% 50s, 14% 20s and about 13% 100s.
Therefore, if this sample is representative of the stack as a whole, (assuming that small bundles don't rise to the top), the individual denominations are worth:
- 7, 360 stacks of $50 bills, worth $5,000 each
- 1,274 stacks of $100 bills, worth $10,000 each
- 1,416 stacks of $20 bills, worth $2,000 each
That adds up to $2,832,000 worth of 20s, $12,740,000 worth of 100s, and $36,800,000 worth of 50s, for a total of
I realize the bundles might not maintain the 13/73/14 proportion of denominations through the stack, but at least now you have some earthly idea of how much money is in that pile.