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Keep paper money in spotlight

The author Oscar Wilde liked clever turns of phrase.

He said the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about.

Such was the thinking of a 19th century celebrity that would probably fit the thinking of any celebrity in the 21st century.

It also applies to numismatics.

Being ignored is far worse for the hobby than being in the scrum of day-to-day life.

For more than a year we have watched the effort to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill by the Women on 20s online effort.

Eventually the group succeeded in persuading Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to replace Jackson on the face of the $20 with that of Harriet Tubman, former slave, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate.

She was selected by online voters, narrowly edging Eleanor Roosevelt.

Jackson will move to the back side of the bill.

Naturally, this has upset some.

No change is ever made by 100 percent agreement.

Last week an attempt was made in the U.S. House of Representatives to block funding for the paper money redesign effort.

An amendment to legislation was to be introduced by Rep. Steve King of Iowa. The House Rules Committee blocked it.

Whether you agree with the effort to change paper money designs or with King to stop it, the important thing is that paper money is in the limelight.

Numismatics benefits when this happens.

Being talked about makes people focus their attention on something that most would otherwise ignore.

It is this very attention that is the spark to get newcomers to collect.

Paper money design change is an incredibly long process.

The latest timetable at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing published by Women on 20s puts the change to the $20 no earlier than 2026. That’s 10 years out.

Who knows what will happen between now and then?

The important thing is to keep the note in the spotlight.

Lew was not content with changing just one bill. He has opened the door to other changes as well.

Women on 20s summarized the changes, “five suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul and Lucretia Mott, will be on the reverse side of the $10.

“Eleanor Roosevelt will appear with Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King on the reverse side of the $5 bill.”

A new $10 will not appear before 2022. The new $5 will not appear before 2024.

Perhaps to demonstrate the influence of the organization’s online surveys, another one is under way.

Visit the website and express your views.

Help keep paper money in the spotlight.

Online survey

Women on 20s says survey results will be revealed in July.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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