Economics

Who Is On American Money?

American currency consists of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and a variety of bills.

The United States dollar is the official currency of the US and its territories as set by the US constitution. The US dollar is divided into 100 cents or units with the circulating money consisting of Federal Reserve Notes. The US coins are produced by the US Mint while the banknotes are produced by Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The coins and banknotes have unique features apart from the dollar sign and the value of the currency. These features are printed or inscribed on the face or the reverse side of the coins and notes. Most of the coins and bank notes have faces of past prominent people including presidents and statesmen as a recognition and honor for their contribution to the history of the US.

Statesmen on the American Money

Presidents on American Money

Presidents dominate the design of paper currency and coins of the United States. The law of the US prohibits the use of faces of living presidents or persons as an image on the banknotes and coins. George Washington, the founding father and the first president of the United States, is on both sides of the one dollar bill. He has been on the one dollar bill since 1869, seven years after the bill was put into circulation. George Washington has also been on the observe side of the quarter coin since 1924. Thomas Jefferson is on both sides of two dollar bill. He has been on the bill since 1869. Jefferson has also been featured on nickel since 1943. Abraham Lincoln, who was the 15th president of the US and who has been credited with ending slavery, has been on the five dollar bill since 1914. The phrase “In God We Trust” was added to the five dollar bill in 1964. The image of Lincoln was included on the penny in 1909 to celebrate his 100th birthday. Andrew Jackson, who was the 7th president of the US and a highly polarized political figure, appears on the twenty dollar bill. His face replaced Cleveland’s on the bill in 1928. Several petitions to remove Jefferson from the bill have failed. The fifty dollar bill features Ulysses Grant who was the 18th president of the US and a famous civil war general. Grant first appeared on the bill in 1913. The petitions to replace Grant with Ronald Reagan in 2005 and 2010 were unsuccessful. Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US and a statesman, appears on the observe side of the dime. The portrait of John F Kennedy, the 35th president, appears on the half dollar coin commonly referred to as Kennedy half a dollar.

Non-Presidents on American Money

Only two non-presidents are featured on the bills in circulation in the US. Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of Treasury, is featured on the ten dollar bill. His image replaced that of Lincoln who was initially featured on the first ten dollar bills. Benjamin Franklin has been described as the only "president" of the US who was never a president andas one of the founding fathers of the US has been featured on the 100 dollar bill since 1914.

The Reverse of American Coins

The Seal of the President of the United States is used to mark correspondence from the office of the President to the Congress. It appears on the reverse side of the half dollar coin while the Iconic Statue of Liberty appears on the back side of the one dollar coin. The quarter dollar coin is set to feature five new designs on the reverse every year and one design in 2021 with each design depicting a national park or a national site from the states, federal districts, and the territories of the US.

Who's On American Money?

RankCurrency Name AmountObverse ImageReverse Image (2017)
1Penny$0.01 Abraham LincolnUnion Shield
2Nickel$0.05 Thomas JeffersonMonticello
3Dime$0.10 Franklin D. RooseveltTorch, oak branch, olive branch
4Quarter$0.25 George WashingtonAmerica the Beautiful Quarters
5Half dollar$0.50 John F. KennedySeal of the President of the United States
6One dollar coin$1 Each deceased PresidentStatue of Liberty
7One dollar bill$1 George WashingtonGeorge Washington
8Two dollar bill$2 Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
9Five dollar bill$5 Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln
10Ten dollar bill$10 Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton
11Twenty dollar bill$20 Andrew JacksonAndrew Jackson
12Fifty dollar bill$50 Ulysses S. GrantUlysses S. Grant
13One hundred dollar bill$100 Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin

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