WASHINGTON, DC — Move over Alexander Hamilton. You’re getting company on the $10 bill and her name is …
On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said a woman will be featured on a redesigned $10 bill in 2020 — the 100th anniversary of the Constitution’s 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. A decision on who the woman will be won’t be made for several months. The last woman on U.S. paper currency was Martha Washington, who was on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896.
“We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I’m proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman,” Lew said.
Lew, who will make the final decision on who will grace the currency, is asking the public for help.
The department will launch a website, and is asking for input over social media with the hashtag #TheNew10.
What’s his criteria? Lew wants the next generation of U.S. currency to underscore the theme of American democracy. The portrait must also — by law — be of someone who is no longer living.
Hamilton, who was the nation’s first treasury secretary, has been on the $10 bill since 1929. He replaced Andrew Jackson, who was the seventh president.
Jackson moved to the $20 bill, where he remains today.
The $20 was at the center of a recent campaign to put a woman on U.S. currency. But Treasury had already pegged the $10 as the next one to be updated.
Bills are flagged for updates mainly for security reasons, Lew said. It was a “happy coincidence” that a push to put a woman on American money happened as the $10 note came under consideration.
Lew said Hamilton will also be a part of the new design. He said it’s up for discussion whether Hamilton will appear alongside a woman or be the centerpiece of one version of the new bill.
Either way, the Hamilton $10 isn’t going anywhere soon, since there are about 1.9 billion $10s in circulation today.
In another first for American greenbacks, the new $10 bill will include a “tactile feature” to allow blind people to distinguish it from other denominations.