Update April 21, 2016 A "master plan" has been announced for changing various denominations
of U.S. currency. The plan for the new money was announced by the Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew which ends the speculation
about who would be on what bills.
In a letter to the American people, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced plans for the new
$20, $10 and $5 notes, with the portrait of Harriet Tubman to be featured on the front of the new $20. Secretary Lew also
announced plans for the reverse of the new $10 to feature an image of the historic march for suffrage that ended on the steps
of the Treasury Department and honor the leaders of the suffrage movement—Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul. The front of the new $10 note will maintain the portrait of Alexander Hamilton.
Finally, he announced plans for the reverse of the new $5 to honor events at the Lincoln Memorial that helped
to shape our history and our democracy and prominent individuals involved in those events, including Marian Anderson, Eleanor
Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.
The reverse of the new $20 will feature images
of the White House and President Andrew Jackson. In his letter, Secretary Lew noted that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
will work closely with the Federal Reserve to accelerate work on the new $20 and $5 notes, with the goal that all three new
notes go into circulation as quickly as possible, consistent with security requirements.
A GOOD WOMAN IS WORTH WAITING FOR
Update December 22, 2015 A good woman is worth waiting for, and so it is with the woman who will be
the featured portrait on the new $10 bill. The original plan was to know by the end of 2015 which woman would be honored with
a portrait on the $10 bill, but just a few days before Christmas and the Treasury Department says we'll have to wait until
the new year to find out who it will be. Here's the statement from the Treasury Department:
"The public’s input on redesigning our currency has been a valuable
part of Secretary Lew’s decision making process. As a result of the tremendous amount of engagement, we have many
more ideas than we had originally anticipated. Therefore, we are taking additional time to carefully review and consider
a range of options to honor the theme of democracy as well as the notable contributions women have made to our country.
As the Secretary has said, this process is about more than just one square inch on a bill, and we look forward to sharing
the Secretary’s decision on currency redesign in the new year."
I'm glad that
the Treasury Department has received a lot of public input. Personally I hope that they steer away from political figures
and choose someone representative of the arts and even popular culture.
THE NEW $10 BILL WILL FEATURE THE PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN
Update June 17, 2015 It's official: a new $10 bill is coming (probably in five years) and it will feature the
portrait of a woman. The Treasury Department is now asking the public to recommend who they would like to see on the new ten-dollar
bills. The new bills will also feature the "tactile instruments" that I told you about in an article about two years
ago (see below). The woman's portrait will not be the only portrait -- Alexander Hamilton's portrait will also continue
to be used but it hasn't been announced how the portraits will be presented. Personally, I think the portrait of the woman
on one side and Hamilton on the other side would allow for an artistic and creative approach to the new currency, though it
is possible both will be on the same side.
Unfortunately, the announcement about the new $10 bill
eliminates the possibility that Ronald Reagan will be on the new ten. But personally, I am still hoping that Reagan might
appear on the $500 bill if it is printed again, or perhaps a redesign of the $100 bill. If the Treasury is now considering
two portraits on one bill then perhaps we might see a Reagan-Franklin $100 bill in the future?
wonder if the woman on the $10 note might get away from a "government theme"? How about a culture icon for
the new $10 and since you can still buy a movie ticket for $10 in many parts of the country, why not a Hollywood movie star
for the honor? How about a Marilyn Monroe $10 bill or an Elizabeth Taylor $10 bill? If they are looking for popular figures
then perhaps a Jackie Kennedy portrait. And since the new $10 bill will have tactile features to help those with visual problems,
why not put Helen Keller on the new $10 note? See more about the $10 bill below.
NEW PRINTING OF LARGER SHEETS OF U.S. CURRENCY
Update May 21, 2014 The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has announced a change in the way that U.
S. currency is being printed. Instead of being printed on sheets of 32 notes or bills at a time, the BEP is shifting
to printing notes on sheets of 50 notes or bills at a time. For consumers the change doesn't mean anything. But
for collectors or those who look at the "fine print" on our currency, this is an interesting change. It also
means that if you buy or collect uncut sheets of U. S. currency the older style sheets of 32-notes will soon be "out
of print." Below is a video from the BEP explaining the change in the printing and how you can identify where on
a sheet of notes or bills your single bill was located. If you ever get stuck at a bar with nothing to talk about, after
watching this video you'll have something to chat about. It might even beat liar's poker.
THE NEXT "NEW MONEY" WILL BE THE $10 BILL AND
THEN MAYBE A $500 BILL
Update September 30, 2013 The next
"new money" after the release of the new $100 bills will be a new $10 bill. But don't expect the new $10 bill
right away. Reports from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve indicate that a new $10 bill won't be released
until about 2020. The new $10 bill will be a three-dimensional bill, with tactile features, or features you can touch
and feel, to help those with visual problems. It is likely that the new $10 bills will have raised boxes or raised rectangles
that you will be able to touch and feel to help those with visual problems to distinguish them. In the future, other
currency denominations will have different tactile shapes so the visually impaired can feel the different denominations.
The tactile features will be on the upper and lower horizontal borders on the new $10 bills so the visually impaired will
be able to "feel" the bills while they are in wallets and purses and will not have to remove them. Look for
more news about the development of the new currency with tactile features to be made at the end of this year.
The Treasury Department says it is starting with the $10 bill because it is frequently used by consumers
and will fill an immediate need for those visually impaired. But the government pointed out that should it be determined
that another currency denomination is being targeted by counterfeiters that there could be a shift from the redesign of the
$10 bill to the other currency denomination targeted by counterfeiters.
OF THE $500 BILL
There is also discussion about once again printing $500
bills. The government used to print $1000 and $500 bills for regular commerce but checks and credit cards removed the
need for them. But now there are suggestions to bring the $500 bill back. Frankly, I don't see the need for it.
I only see $100 bills used in casinos and most businesses discourage anything larger than a $20 bill being used. But
if the $500 bill is printed again, I personally hope the new $500 bill design will feature former president Ronald Reagan.
There was a movement to put Ronald Reagan on the dime, but Nancy Reagan disapproved of the idea and said Franklin Roosevelt
should remain on the ten-cent piece because of his efforts for the March of Dimes against polio and birth defects and to honor
him as the nation's longest-serving president. Nancy Reagan also said that Ronald Reagan would not approve of removing
FDR from the dime. There is always discussion of replacing the one-dollar bill with a dollar coin, and a Ronald Reagan
dollar coin would also be my first choice for a dollar coin design.
MORE ABOUT DENOMINATIONS YOU CAN FEEL
Update September 30, 2013 Here is more about the plans for producing currency with tactile
features or features on money that you can feel to determine its denomination. This comes from a government report about
the development of this new currency to help those who are blind and visually-impaired. At the same time, it also makes
our currency more difficult to counterfeit. What follows is from the government report:
After considering a large number of options and feedback from the blind and visually-impaired community,
the BEP is proceeding with a single symbol design and denominating scheme. Based upon its current research efforts,
the BEP has determined a hollow rectangle to be highly perceptible by touch. The notional size for each single rectangle is
6mm (vertical) by 4mm (horizontal).
was reached after exploring prototype samples that contain different symbol shapes including circles, triangles, ovals, slanted
lines, six-dot clusters, and others that were evaluated by members of the blind community. In order to validate the
information acquired during these informal sessions with blind users, the BEP contracted a subject matter expert to conduct
a formal, scientifically-based acuity study designed to compare the relative ease with which the various symbol shapes could
be recognized by touch. The results of this study, conducted in late 2011, clearly validated the results of the information
informally collected by the BEP.
To date, the
most promising denominating scheme appears to be a 4-position pattern, with a 14mm spacing between adjacent symbols (18mm
on center) to enhance the user’s ability to distinguish single symbols within the denominating scheme. The user would
denominate the note by the number and location of elements in the pattern. This scheme represents a good balance between
ease of use and optimization of available space on the surface of a Federal Reserve note. An added advantage to this
scheme is its similarity to that used on Canadian banknotes that have been in circulation for many years and have been accepted
by blind users.
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