The week of April 15 was the second anniversary of the announcement
by the Obama administration’s Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, that
Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the face of a revised
$20 bill. Lew also announced that the $5 and $10 notes would also be
revised to pay homage to icons of the women’s rights and civil rights
movements. Lew said that the first of the new notes would make their
appearance in 2020 on the centennial of women gaining the right to vote.
What happened? Since then, references to the revisions have been
scrubbed clean from government websites with remarkable efficiency.
Lew’s successor, Steven Mnuchin, told CNN last year, “It’s not
something that I’m focused on at the moment,” and his boss, Donald
Trump, has expressed an affinity for Andrew Jackson, even featuring
his portrait in the Oval Office. Trump has in the past called the
Tubman decision an act of political correctness, and suggested that
Tubman be placed on the $2 bill instead. That denomination depicts the
third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.
Coinage during World War I:
Propaganda and influence were a big part of World War I, and
medals and coins were a prime vehicle to convey those messages.
Steve Roach covers the topic in our May 7 cover feature.
The announcement anniversary received little attention in mass
media save for the Daily Beast news and opinion website, where
Elisha Brown brought this information to the attention of her readers
on April 19. Brown said that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing told
her that “the redesigns have not been finalized or approved for
circulation. The next note set to be released is the $10 bill, and the
redesign won’t enter circulation until 2026.”
Given that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing told Coin
World in August 2017 that work was continuing on the development
of the advanced security elements that are the reason for currency
redesign, for some it seems incomprehensible that it will take the
United States almost another decade to accomplish what the European
Union and most major countries do in a fraction of that time.
The Beast confirmed that the current issue plan is from the
Treasury Department’s Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering
Committee, and that a new $10 bill will come out first, followed by
the $50 bill, and then the $20 note. A spokesperson told Brown that
the fight against counterfeiting could push the release dates back
even further. That means, Brown says, “The public may not see the
Tubman $20 bill until years, even decades after the original 2020
design release date.”
The new $10 note is expected to have some sort of tactile feature
intended to enable the visually impaired to determine the note’s denomination.
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