NOTE: Coinsbygary sent me a copy of the ANA/BEP Card for the proposed, but never issued, $10 Educational Note. I have added it to my pictures.
There has been some talk in recent years about redesigning U.S. currency to distance ourselves from the ancient old men theme. Of course, Harriet Tubman seems to be back on track to make an appearance on the $20. But displacing old Andy Jackson seems to have stirred up a hornet's nest of opposition. What I would like to see is a complete and total redesign of all our circulating currency. Wildlife Themes, Natural Beauty themes, Historical Events, you name it, they could all be part of our wallet if we dare.
Much like coins, our currency also used to have artistry that captivated the imagination and spoke of the power and the grandeur, of our nation. In my opinion, the most beautiful currency ever produced in this country was the Educational Series of 1896. This series placed allegorical images on our currency in ways that completely amaze me with the sheer artistry.
The $1 bill, History Instructing Youth, was designed by Will Hickock Low and engraved by Charles Schlecht. We see History holding Youth close while gesturing to an open book, Washington D.C. looming in the background.
The $2 bill, Science presenting Steam and Electricity to Commerce and Manufacture, was designed by Blashfield, Low, Reinhart, and Shirlaw. The engraving was done by Schlecht and Smillie. We see Science standing tall in the center with male children representing Electricity on the left and Steam on the right presenting their wares to allegorical women representing Commerce on the left and Manufacturing on the right.
The $5 bill, Electricity as the Dominant Force in the World, was designed by Shirlaw, Morris, and Smillie. The engraving was done by Smillie and Morris. We see Electricity as w winged lady standing over North America while electricity courses through her upstretched hand. Other figures including a herald trumpeter proclaim Electricity's dominance.
These three engravings were released during ANA Conventions
over a three-year period. They do not
depict the other sides of the bills but, of course, they are not collected for
their reverses, they are collected for their beautiful obverses. What do you think? Wouldn't you love to see currency like this
again? Other countries do it, we can