Paper Money

Artist reimagines U.S. paper money designs

The bureaucratic lethargy and political posturing that plagues American paper currency redesign shows no signs of changing any time in the next decade. While other countries are experimenting with new materials, nontraditional themes, and complex designs, the United States remains in limbo.

An art project called “American Money Reimagined” by Troy Turner is on the website of Yanko Design, a firm that describes itself as an online magazine covering what it calls the best in international product design. 

Turner discovered a project by Andrey Avgust, an industrial designer in Minsk, Belarus. It offers an outsider’s interpretation of what could be done with American currency without changing most of the main motifs, just their manner of presentation.

Using the non-numismatic eye of a design critic, Turner says Avgust’s designs for the notes have greater depth and detail than real American money. They would be more durable because they are intended to be made of layers of polymer. Security features would include unique encrypted QR codes and numbers printed by inks that can be viewed under UV light. 


original design for the Washington MonumentInside Coin World: Note shows Washington Monument as it should have looked: A 19th century note shows the Washington Monument in its original though abandoned form. Also in the June 25 Coin World, a coin scandal begins in 1935.

All proposed note designs except for the $20 note, which has a face side featuring John F. Kennedy instead of Andrew Jackson and a back design showing a lunar astronaut, rely on most of the same basic characters as notes do at present. To the horror of Hamilton fans everywhere, Jefferson is switched from the $2 note to the $10 denomination, and no $2 note is included in Avgust’s scheme. 

The back designs of the notes are a little freer in their interpretations, sporting such themes as the Statue of Liberty on the $5 note and a billowing American flag on the $50 note.

A video showing all notes is found here.

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