ZanzibarCoins's Blog

28 Feb 2019

The Twenty Dollar Bill, Its History, and ... Is It Facing Changes Or Not?

Young Numismatists Exchange | ZanzibarCoins

Hi everyone! This is a late blog post, I've been meaning to make one for a while now, but haven't had time to with school going on and lots and lots of homework being assigned. :)
This blog post is on the twenty dollar bill. It mainly is going to focus on the history of the twenty dollar bill, but the reason that I wanted to write a blog post on the twenty dollar bill, the possibility of Harriet Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson on it in 2020, will also appear in here. :) Here we go!
Before the twenty dollar bill became federal reserve currency, there were multiple issues with some very neat designs. For example, in 1861, the twenty dollar bill was a demand note featuring Lady Liberty on the front, holding a sword and a shield, and an abstract design on the back, which was green (greenback!). In 1863, the twenty dollar bill was a legal tender note, with a woman on the front, with a sword (I can't tell who this woman is, so if anyone knows, please feel free to let me know in the comments) :), and a green abstract design on the back. (Random fact: the 1863 twenty dollar gold certificate had an orange back, instead of a green one.) In 1865, there was a national bank note twenty dollar bill with "The Battle of Lexington" and Pocahontas and John Rolfe's marriage, in black, with a green border. In 1869, a new United States design appeared, featuring Alexander Hamilton on the left side of the front, and Victory on the right, holding a sword and shield. The design on the back, is, well, green. :) From 1878-1905, the twenty dollar bill featured many different people on the front, including George Washington, James Garfield, John Marshall, Daniel Manning, Hugh McCulloch, and Stephen Decatur.
In 1928, Andrew Jackson first appeared on the face of the twenty dollar bill. He has stayed there ever since. (Another random fact: In 1942, the twenty dollar bills had the word "HAWAII" printed over the design on both the front and the back, and brown serial numbers instead of black. These emergency series bills were designed to circulate in Hawaii, and become invalid if the Japanese invaded and captured Hawaii.) In 1963, big changes were made to the bill. "Will Pay To The Bearer On Demand" was removed from the front of the bill below the portrait, and the legal tender designation was shortened: "and is redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank" is removed from the bill, leaving only "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." "In God We Trust" is added above the White House on the back of the bill as well. Several design elements were also rearranged, although they are less noticeable then the changes in 1950. They were mostly rearranged to make room for the new additions or removals of words on the bills. 
Now, as to the new designs for the twenty dollar bill ... here we go! :) A campaign called "Women on 20s" ran. It selected voters, and the voters were asked to choose three of fifteen female candidates to have their portrait on the twenty dollar bill. The goal of the campaign was to choose a woman to put on the twenty dollar bill in 2020, since 2020 marked the one-hundredth anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The candidates included Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Wilma Mankiller (the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation), and Rosa Parks. On May 12, 2015, the results of the campaign were announced. Harriet Tubman won, with over 118,000 out of about 600,000 votes. Closely following her were Roosevelt, Parks, and Mankiller. On June 17, 2015, Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary announced that a woman's portrait would be featured on a redesigned ten dollar bill in 2020, replacing Alexander Hamilton. However, that decision was changed, at least partly due to Hamilton's surging popularity following the hit Broadway musical called Hamilton. On April 20, 2016, Lew made an official  announcement, stating that Alexander Hamilton would remain on the ten dollar bill, and that Andrew Jackson would be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the front of the twenty dollar bill, and Andrew Jackson would be moved to the back of the twenty dollar bill. Lew also announced that the five and ten dollar bills would be redesigned later, and put into production in the next decade. 
However, on August 31, 2017, the new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he would not commit to putting Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill, saying "People have been on the bills for a long period of time. This is something we'll consider; right now we have a lot more important issues to focus on." According to a Bureau of Engraving and Printing spokesperson, the next redesigned bill will be the ten-dollar bill, which isn't set to be released into circulation until at least 2026. Because of this, it appears that a redesigned twenty-dollar bill featuring Tubman might not be released until many years after the original 2020 release date ... if at all. Any thoughts on this? Please feel free to put them in the comments! :)
Bye for now y'all! :)

Wikipedia: United States Twenty Dollar Bill
Harriet Tubman Twenty Dollar Bill
2020 20$ Dollar Bill Ideas (duckduckgo.com)



Level 6

I don't think it's going to change anytime soon. But we'll see... ; )


Level 6

Paper money changes are very slow in coming. I can't see the $20 design change happening.

Just Mokie

Level 5

Yup, I don't believe Harriet will appear on the 20 either. I would like to see some fresh designs, I know the security features that have been added in recent years has also added some eye appeal but maybe new portraits? In reality, it is not that important any more, most transactions are going by credit/debit card or online line in the same manner anymore, the need to carry around a lot of bills has faded into the past. Thanks for the in-depth research though,always interesting to learn some new facts.


Level 5

I agree with Longstrider.

The twenty dollar bill has had some turbulent history, and i am excited and hoping they will change it, may collecting notes exciting

Mike B

Level 6

I be live it's also a dead issue. If this was to happen with all the publicly behind it then it would of been done years ago. It's not what we want it's up to congress. They work real fast. Thanks for the info.. I usually don't answer these on the twenty her do away with the cents the nickels the dollar. They all have been asked a hundred times. But no one puts any economics They all say the same this country did it that country did it. We're not that country. Thanks.again .mike


Level 6

I think the original Tubman layout is dead. Just my opinion. Thanks

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