The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 25, June 21, 2015, Article 11


This is old news by now since it was announced early in the week, but plans are afoot to place the portrait of a woman on the U.S. $10 bill. Here's some of the coverage. First, David Sundman sent a copy of the U.S. Treasury Dept. press release. -Editor

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew today announced that a newly redesigned $10 note will feature a woman. In exercising his responsibility to select currency features and design, Treasury Secretary Lew will select a notable woman – with a focus on celebrating a champion for our inclusive democracy. In keeping with that theme, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is asking the American people to share ideas, symbols, and designs for the new $10 note that reflect what democracy means to them

In 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury selected the $10 note for redesign based on a number of factors and with guidance from the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Steering Committee, an inter-agency group established to monitor and communicate counterfeit deterrence issues and dedicated to maintaining and ensuring the integrity of U.S. currency. While many factors are taken into consideration, the primary reason for redesigning currency is to address current and potential counterfeiting threats. In addition to featuring a woman, the new $10 note will include a tactile feature that increases accessibility for the visually impaired.

For more information, see:

Matthew Wittmann of the American Numismatic Society was interviewed on the topic by reporter Melissa Block on Thrsday's All Things Considered program on National Public Radio (NPR). -Editor


And who decides whose face gets on our currency? How is that decision made?

WITTMANN: For paper currency, it's more or less at the discretion of the secretary of the treasury. Now, obviously there are parameters. If you did try to do something crazy, I'm sure Congress would intervene. But in 1928 in 1929 when they made this decision, it was just a committee that he put together that made recommendations. And he actually did not use the recommendations. The committee wanted to go with all presidents, but the secretary of the treasury felt that well-known Americans like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton that weren't presidents could also be on the currency.

BLOCK: And there they are still, at least for now.

WITTMANN: Yes, at least for now, right.

BLOCK: I was interested to read about the fact that Martha Washington, wife of George, had her own place on a note or a certificate in the 19th century. What was that about?

WITTMANN: Yes, she was on the $1 silver certificate from 1886 to 1896. And you just have to understand that this is a time when the U.S. government issued a lot more different kinds of money. So there was legal tender, there were national bank notes, there were treasury notes. And so they had a broader cast of characters on these bills. And Martha Washington was chosen and, for a decade, was on the $1 silver certificate.

BLOCK: When you think about likely contenders of the woman who will be on the $10 bill in the end, who do you think leads the pack?

WITTMANN: Well, the candidate I'm backing, if you will, is Amelia Earhart. I think she's an American hero. She's got a broad base of support, which is what you're going to need to be the first woman on a U.S. $10 bill. I think there's a variety of people that could be on there. I know Harriet Tubman would also be a great candidate.

To read the complete article, see:
Woman To Share $10 Bill With Alexander Hamilton In 2020 (

USA Today discussed the last woman on U.S. paper money, Martha Washington. -Editor

Martha Washingon on US note The last time a woman appeared on any U.S. paper money was in the 1800s, when Martha Washington's portrait graced $1 bills.

Some 120 years later, a woman will appear on the $10 bill, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday.Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is asking the public to weigh in on which female historical figure should appear on the bill that will be released in 2020. Some popular suggestions include Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks.

In the 1800s, Martha Washington, the USA's first first lady, was featured on the $1 silver certificate — a common form of U.S. currency then, backed the precious metal. Back then, there weren't many high-profile women to chose from, says Manning Garrett, a paper money expert and the president of Manifest Auctions.

"The people featured on money were limited to political figures and if you look back and decide what American woman to put on a silver dollar certificate — women didn't see much of politics, so the pool of candidates was very limited," Garrett tells USA TODAY Network.

To read the complete article, see:
A woman on U.S. bill? Martha Washington did it (

Is that the best image they could find of a Martha Washington note? Sheesh... -Editor

Arthur Shippee forwarded a June 17, 2015 New York Times article, which discussed earlier efforts to put women on U.S. coins. -Editor

Putting a woman on paper notes is certain to be an honor more long-lived than that accorded two history-making women whose images were put on coins. Susan B. Anthony, the social reformer, appeared on silver dollars minted from 1979 to 1981, and again in 1999, and Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide to the Lewis and Clark expedition, was featured on gold-colored dollar coins from 2000. Both coins, which were often confused with quarters, proved unpopular, and production of them was stopped.

Faces on bills have not changed since 1929, when Andrew Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland on the $20 note. Basic currency designs date to that time; redesigns occur every decade or so to deter counterfeiting.

For the latest change, the Treasury has invited the public to use the hashtag #TheNew10 “to spread the word about the redesign.” Also, Mr. Lew and other officials will solicit the public’s ideas in round-table discussions and town-hall meetings.

The note will include tactile features to make it easier for people who are blind or visually impaired to identify the bill.

To read the complete article, see:

Pablo Hoffman and David Gladfelter forwarded this Opinion piece by Steven Rattner from The New York Times arguing to replace Jackson on the $20 rather than Hamilton on the $10. Thanks. I have to agree - I'm much more a fan of Hamilton, for the same reasons Rattner lays out. -Editor

I’M all in for the plan announced last week by the Treasury to put a woman on a piece of American folding money. But in bumping Alexander Hamilton from the center of the $10 bill, we would be exiling the man most responsible for our nation’s having a sound currency in the first place.

The solution is simple: Evict Andrew Jackson from the $20 to make room for a worthy woman. In stark contrast to Hamilton, Jackson did more than most presidents to damage our financial system and our economy.

We are taught early on about Hamilton’s central role in the decision by the newly independent United States to assume the debts of its former colonies, a key step in constructing a sound monetary system and a creditworthy nation. That’s just a tiny example of the achievements and the visionary genius of our first — and greatest — Treasury secretary, who built the nation’s financial architecture from scratch.

In its announcement on Wednesday, the Treasury Department said that “the image of Alexander Hamilton will remain part of the $10 note.” That’s not nearly enough for one of the greatest of our founding fathers.

The various women who’ve been put forward for this pioneering role — including Susan B. Anthony (a second try after her dollar coin flopped, twice), Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt — are all outstanding individuals worthy of recognition. Just don’t push aside Alexander Hamilton to make room.

To read the complete article, see:
Leave Hamilton Alone (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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