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Community Voice Responses (4/21/2015)

From the March 17 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Should a woman replace Jackson on the $20 bill?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

No. I say let’s leave Andrew Jack’s picture on the $20 bill.

Berry Bowman
Address withheld

For certain, anyone such as myself who says no will be stereotyped and banished from the kingdom.

But in my gut, it is just not right that Andrew Jackson be replaced as an equal rights thing. It may not be the wrong thing to do (the woman), but it certainly is not right.

I believe the worlds outside would balk at such a plan and boycott their use.

If women have an issue with that, remind them of the U.S. coinage having their likeness and the extremely high value of their place in collections.

The more I consider the change, the more intense my negative feelings grow.

D. Cummings
Reno, Nev.

No,  leave our Founding Fathers in the places of honor and find some other place for the ladies.

H.B. Sumpter Sr.
Georgetown, Texas

When one examines the history of our coinage, Lady Liberty dominated until we started putting dead Presidents’ effigies on obverses.

Why don’t we use the opportunity to revive this now-in-abeyance custom and use an allegorical female figure of Liberty? That avoids the problem of choosing between various (potentially divisive) political alternatives.  The Susan B. Anthony dollar might have been better accepted had that choice been taken then.

Jack Lloyd
Panama City, Fla.

No,  I’ve had it to the top of my head with all this PC stuff.  I think we should get rid of all dead Presidents on both coins and paper money.

To get rid of Andy is fine, but to put someone like E. Roosevelt on our coins is enough to make many of us roll over in our graves. I prefer the Liberty motif instead of honoring people.

Leidon Brown
Missouri City, Texas

The idea of changing the images has come up before and I agree with previous opinions that having “a bunch of dead Presidents” on our money is both old and boring. It is time for a change. However, if we do that then it should be a change back to representations of Liberty as a female and not a real person.

G. Bidwell
Lincoln, Ill.

I absolutely believe we need a new face on the $20 bill. My vote is for Halle Berry. With her on the face of a new $20 bill at least we would be getting our money’s worth and people would hang on to their cash.

Dave Martens
Rockledge, Fla.

There aren’t any American women who have had the historical importance of any U.S. president, or Alexander Hamilton or Benjamin Franklin. So a woman should not be on the $20 bill.

Paul Debbas
Hawthorne, N.J.

Absolutely yes.

It is an international embarassment that Andrew Jackson, architect of the Indian Removal Act, (a.k.a. “Trail of Tears”) is honored on our currency. You cannot even spend a $20 bill in Tahlequah, Okla. They don’t accept them.

He should take his place in the hall of shame with Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot.

Yes, replace him with a woman. It’s about time. After all, the 1792 coinage act stipulated that all U.S. coinage should have upon its obverse the allegorical figure of Liberty, which is always a woman.

Tom Maringer
Springdale, Ark.

I’m not in favor of changing the people who are currently portrayed on our currency. I can’t imagine who we might choose, male or female, to replace Andrew Jackson.

Joel B. Wulff
Bristol, Conn.

Pocahontas.

Kerry Rodgers
Geraldine, New Zealand

A $20 bill design change could become very controversial should it ever move forward in Congress.

Nevertheless, the initial selection for my wife and I is Susan B. Anthony, a truly courageous woman who was instrumental in women gaining the right to vote via the 19th amendment.

A fine compromise would be a new portrait of Liberty. The Treasurer could solicit entries from interested citizens in a contest for best portrait. The two committees that advise the Treasurer on our coinage could recommend the final selection(s). Thus, Liberty would be representative of all of the talented and courageous women who have contributed to the advancement of our society.

Ted Vaccarella
Churchville, N.Y.

Personally, as an Australian with an interest in United States history – as well as some genealogical roots – I think Andrew Jackson should remain as a traditionally established historical icon on the U.S. $20. He truly earned his place.

However, that is not to say that, at certain times, it would not be appropriate to, commemoratively, feature a woman-of-note for a limited anniversary issue.

In Australia, where our note issue culture is somewhat different, that precedent of issuing commemorative money was firmly set in 1988 when, for a 12-month period, the first poly-vinyl AUD $10  was issued.

It featured native Aboriginal culture and early colonial life after the First Fleet arrived in 1788.

The production team at Note Printing Australia experienced adherence problems with the inks on this attractive Bicentennial issue – so, the public had to wait for some time to see a general issuance across the denomination range.

In 2001, a special issue of AUD $5 was made bearing a lady of note and another man of note.

As you may be aware, Note Printing Australia features portraits on both sides of notes that it issues.

The “Sir Henry Parkes-Catherine Spence”  AUD $5 was supposed to be a one-off issue and was a must-have for local note collectors. It is now obvious that second thoughts have arisen about these two early pioneers.

Information has been recently appearing in our press that NPA are about to realease revamped note designs with  younger portraiture of the existing icons. Proposed designs were released some time ago – whether these will be the final ones is yet to be seen. It was of interest that “Parkes-Spence” may again grace our wallets.

Graeme Petterwood
Ravenswood, Tasmania, Australia

Of course not if it is only to satisfy a political agenda. Off hand I can’t think of any woman deserving of such a high honor. My vote would go to Ronald Regan, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Henry Ford or Martin Luther King Jr.

Bill Rodriguez
Atlantic Beach, Fla.

I do look at the Numismatic News, although often briefly for lack of time. The question you posed in this issue, however, really drew my attention. My response is a vehement “Yes, please!”

Having the portrait of Andrew Jackson, whose harsh policy in bringing down the National Bank ushered in the Hard Times of which there are several tokens, as well as being a particularly harsh slave owner,  not to mention his treachery toward the Native Americans with whom he had negotiated agreements, would be sweet balm on a sore that has been nagging me for years.

Unfortunately for my desires, I recognize that President Jackson is revered throughout the South, having been not only a war hero, but also a figure who, as a prominent agriculturalist, stood staunchly against the industrial North. Any woman who would be proposed should be someone who is deeply admired throughout the country.

Martha Washington might be a possibility. She comes from a time will be for the issues that have riven this country so deeply arose. Whoever the final choice is, she needs to be somebody admired throughout this land.

Sherry Briggs
Needham, Mass.

Heavens no. If anything put a women on the $1 bill for one year and then do away with the $1 bill completely. Then we could use the Sacagaweas that already have a woman on it.

Bobby Bange
St. Simons Island, Ga.

I don’t have a strong opinion.  However, I went to the group that is pushing this and voted.  My feeling is they already have the politically correct winner in mind. Had the first round of “voting” offered a write-in space, I would have thought otherwise.

I was dissapointed that I could not vote for one of our contemporaries, Sally Ride.  If the new 20 with her likeness came out at the same time as the 50th anniversary moon landing coins, that would be special.

Richard Bumpus
Marion, Mass.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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2 Responses to Community Voice Responses (4/21/2015)

  1. dwatson says:

    Should a woman replace Jackson on the $20 bill? This is really more about a political move hatched by women’s right groups which also has aspirations of a women president (Hillary Clinton). The twenty dollar bill was chosen because it is the most circulated bill in America. This is a cram it down your throat idea because if one disagrees than he or she will be labeled as one who refuses to accept women in society. If one really wanted to do a series of women in America history than the two dollar note would be the best and on any given issue you could have one woman for each Federal Reserve, that way you could have 12 a year and make a real collector series and take the politics out of our monetary system as much as possible. By the way, if the twenty dollar bill is changed, I will go to using tens.

  2. Munzen says:

    While I’m somewhat non-committal as to who should replace Andrew Jackson, some of the reasons expressed for not doing so are head-scratchers.

    No, we haven’t always had the same people on our currency; it just seems like it. And no, new designs won’t be confusing. Almost no one alive remembers what the situation was before the current portraits became ossified in 1928 but a check of any banknote reference will show that portraits changed every few years, and there were far more types and designs of bills in circulation at any given time.

    The people depicted before 1928 included a far wider range of individuals than presidents and Founding Fathers. Not that most of the latter aren’t absolutely worthy of the honor, but are they the only people who contributed to building the country? Past bills carried images of explorers, inventors, military figures, even Martha Washington. Today, new portraits could appear with every new set of anti-counterfeiting features. That would both resume the old schedule of roughly decennial redesigns as well as allowing a far broader group of people to be featured. Or, as many have suggested, do away with all portraits and go back to allegorical figures and quintessentially American scenes like the Grand Canyon.

    Oh, and I have a question for “I’ll never use a $20 bill again” types: What will you do at an ATM?

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