By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
In a YouTube video published on Wednesday, June 17, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced that the Treasury Department would be redesigning the $10 bill, and that the new design would feature a woman. The new federal reserve note is scheduled for release in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote.
The last redesign of the $10 bill entered circulation on March 2, 2006.
Lew’s announcement comes not long after the Women on 20s movement selected Harriet Tubman as the winning candidate for a woman to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Indeed, U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH3) had just introduced a bill (H.R. 2147) the day before on June 16 that would impanel a group of private citizens to advise the Treasury Secretary on the matter of placing a woman’s portrait on the $20 and require the Secretary to issue a report on the feasibility of doing so.
However, according to the Treasury’s new website concerning the redesign (http://thenew10.treasury.gov), the impetus for redesigning the $10 bill goes back to 2013 and the recommendation of the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) program.
The ACD committee was established in 1982 to advise the Treasury Secretary on how to stay ahead of the latest developments in the counterfeiting field. A quote on the new website states that counterfeiting is the “primary driver for currency redesign”. The ACD analyzed all U.S. notes currently in circulation according to the following criteria:
- An assessment of the threat counterfeiting poses
- The state of countermeasure development at the Treasury
- Production readiness
- How each bill is used in day-to-day commerce
- The impact of changes to the note on consumers and the manufacturers of note handling machines
Based on these findings, the ACD considered the $10 bill the best candidate for redesign at this time. Tactile features to assist the blind and visually-impaired will also be incorporated into any new design.
As far as the details of the bill’s design go, Secretary Lew stated that Democracy is the central theme for the next round of currency redesigns, and the “New 10” website specifically points to the 1896 Educational Series of notes as inspiration for the new banknotes.
And while the decision is ultimately his to make, Secretary Lew is actively seeking public input and comment as to which nationally-prominent American woman should appear on the new $10. Various Treasury officials will be at meetings, town halls and roundtables to discuss the topic publicly. People can also leave comments on the new website and use the Twitter hashtag #theNew10 to participate.
According to the U.S. Treasury, candidates must be “iconic and have made a significant contribution to – or impact on – protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded”, and by law no living person may appear on a federal reserve note.
Interestingly, in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the new website, the Treasury confirms that a portrait of Alexander Hamilton will continue to be a part of the new bill’s design. They go on to say that the Treasury may continue to honor Hamilton on the ten by producing two $10 bills concurrently, but that a variety of options are being investigated at this time.
This might be interpreted to imply that a new $10 bill featuring a notable American woman may be little more than a commemorative banknote. If this turns out to be the case, it would be the first official commemorative banknote issued by the United States.
Still, for those committed to seeing a woman portrayed on modern American circulating currency, it may not be time to relent just yet.
The ACD has yet to recommend changes to the $20.
Check out the video:
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