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Andrew Jackson likely wins battle

If Las Vegas was laying odds about who will be depicted on the redesigned $20 Federal Reserve Note, Andrew Jackson would most likely be the safe bet.

I know former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew promised to put abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the denomination when it is redesigned and issued in 2020.

However, there was an election in 2016.

A new administration has taken over since the promise was made.

The new Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has not ratified Lew’s decision.

A CNN.com news story late last week repeats this lack of confirmation.

Mnuchin serves a President who has a painting of Jackson hanging near his desk in the Oval Office.

Admittedly, saying a decision has not been made and that he is focusing on anti-counterfeiting is not the same thing as saying Tubman is out of the running.

Nevertheless, that seems to be a logical inference.

After all, if you were going to keep Lew’s promise, there have been several occasions where a routine confirmation could have been made.

On the other hand, if you are going to reject Tubman and keep Jackson and you remember the national campaign to remove him from the $20, what would you do?

How would you handle it?

You don’t want a national brouhaha over dropping the promise of a previous Treasury secretary, do you?

You probably would delay the announcement as long as possible, wouldn’t you?

You might wait until it was impossible to make a change in portrait and keep the schedule for release of a new counterfeit-resistant bill perhaps.

Or you could plan a big announcement at some event where it would energize those who want to keep Jackson.

What you probably wouldn’t do if Tubman was definitely going to be on the bill is say that a decision hasn’t been made and you are focusing on anti-counterfeiting.

My conclusion is Old Hickory will be on the $20 for many years to come.

What’s your conclusion?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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2 Responses to Andrew Jackson likely wins battle

  1. numismel says:

    I predict Jackson will stay, maybe with Tubman on reverse. If we want a woman or women on our currency, and I think that’s a good idea, I believe it should not be up to a public vote–the choice should be made by a group of respected historians.

  2. Vachon says:

    Politics aside, it’s a shame the design will likely not change. Our currency has been using the same portraits and vignettes for almost 100 years now. There’s probably no one left alive with a living memory of having used/received notes with different designs on them. We missed a great opportunity to come up with new designs for all our currency during the bicentennial…

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