Rosa Parks on the Ten Dollar Bill?

Redesigning the $10 Bill

From the Treasury Department: United States currency” and the images of great leaders and landmarks they depict has long been a way to honor our past and express our values. In 2013, we selected the $10 note for redesign based on a number of factors. The next generation of currency will revolve around the theme of democracy. The first note, the new $10, will feature a notable woman. In keeping with that theme, its important that you make your voice heard. Use #TheNew10 to tell us your ideas, symbols, designs or any other feedback that can inform the Secretary as he considers options for the $10 redesign.


A group called Women On 20s has urged President Barack Obama to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman. Organizers sent a petition to the White House last month calling for the change.

Respondents to their online poll chose Ms. Tubman for the slot.

Mr. Lew, however, said the $10 bill already was the next up for a redesign, making it the most practical vehicle for the symbolic portrait change.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Treasury Department announced Wednesday it will include a woman on the redesigned $10 bill, which currently features the image of its own founder, Alexander Hamilton. Here’s some more details on the new bill:

Who’s going on the $10? The Treasury hasn’t decided. Ultimately, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew gets to make the call, but the department is asking Americans to submit their ideas on a website,, or on Twitter with the hashtag #TheNew10. Mr. Lew will select a woman who is a “champion for our inclusive democracy,” the department said Wednesday. The selection will be announced later this year.

Are there any frontrunners? Candidates that have received some attention in a separate, grassroots campaign to put a woman on the paper currency include Eleanor Roosevelt, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, civil-rights icon Rosa Parks and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

When will this happen? The Treasury Department says the redesigned $10 note will be unveiled in 2020, which is 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote.

How often do they change the currency? American bills have undergone several redesigns beginning in the 1990s to prevent counterfeiting. The Treasury says it plans to redesign its currency every seven to 10 years. Changes to the portraits on the notes, however, are much more rare.

When was the last time we swapped out faces? The lineup of presidents and statesmen on the seven bills currently in circulation was selected in 1928, according to the Treasury Department.

Who makes these decisions? The Treasury secretary has final say over currency design, per an 1862 act of Congress. Several government agencies are involved in the process of security features on currency, including the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Are there any restrictions on who can go bills? By law, it can’t be a living person.

Why is it the $10 bill that’s getting changed? A redesign of the $10 bill was already in the works as part of an upgrade that will include tactile features on bills to assist the blind and visually impaired. Government agencies that oversee currency design and security recommended starting with the $10 bill in 2013, and outlined a timetable that could have the bill in circulation as early as 2020.

What happens to Alexander Hamilton? Mr. Lew said Wednesday that he’s looking at options to include Mr. Hamilton either on the redesigned $10 note or on a different bill, so it doesn’t appear that he’ll disappear entirely. Mr. Hamilton, a financier who served as the nation’s first Treasury secretary, was the architect of the early U.S. financial system. He’s also the only statesman on paper currency currently in production who wasn’t born in the U.S.

Why not dump Andrew Jackson instead? A grassroots campaign over the past year has lobbied President Barack Obama to put a woman on the $20 bill. But Mr. Jackson appears to be safe for now because the $10 note redesign was already in the works. Mr. Jackson, of course, was pretty far apart ideologically from Mr. Hamilton. The 7th U.S. president led a successful campaign to kill off the nation’s central bank and stridently argued against the dangers of a paper currency, which he said concentrated too much power in the hands of bankers. Until the 1928 redesign, Mr. Jackson had been on the $10 bill.

Has a woman been on the currency before? There’s the Sacagawea dollar, a golden coin that was first circulated in 2000 but that hasn’t been released since 2011 due to its low business use. And there have been other coins with women on them, such as the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, which was minted from 1979-81 and again in 1999. But a woman hasn’t appeared on the paper currency since Martha Washington was on a $1 silver certificate in the late 1800s.

How many $10 notes are there? According to the Federal Reserve, there were 1.9 billion $10 bills circulating at the end of last year. In the current fiscal year, the government plans to print 627.2 million bills.

Will the old $10 bills still be money good? Yes. The Treasury doesn’t recall or devalue currency notes when they get redesigned.

Will we still be using paper money in 2020? Highly likely. Sorry, bitcoin.

Who’s on the paper currency today? There are seven bills in production today: George Washington on the $1 bill, Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill, Mr. Hamilton on the $10 bill, Mr. Jackson on the $20 bill, Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill.

There are other denominations that are no longer produced, including the $500 bill with William McKinley, the $1,000 bill with Grover Cleveland, the $5,000 bill with James Madison, the $10,000 bill with former Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, and the $100,000 currency note featuring Woodrow Wilson.

Posted in Citizens Duty, DOJ, DC and inside the Beltway, Treasury.

Denise Simon