Yesterday’s ruling in favor of the blind by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia means changes could be coming to American paper money.
Because current notes are all the same size regardless of denomination, the court said the Treasury was violating the Rehabilitation Act.
The Treasury can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. It may do so, but the collector in me begins to speculate about notes of different sizes or notes with Braille characters.
My mind says different sizes is the preferred option, perhaps as a result of my experiences with euro notes in Germany, but even that isn’t without its bumps. Euro countries don’t have a 1. They have a coin. Will this occur in the United States as a result of a court ruling?
Europeans don’t like the 5 because it is too small. It certainly is small, but I am more worried about notes being too big rather than too small.
Braille strikes me as too easily subverted either by fakers putting Braille for high denominations on low-denomination notes, or by crushing the raised areas.
Even if not deliberately crushed, how much wear can a note take before the Braille is not recognizable?
The gears in my mind are still turning. I am sure other collectors have other thoughts. We’ll see over time how this all plays out. Of course, it might not be too long before we’ll be spending gas ration coupons rather than paper money.