Money 101

Who's In Your Wallet?

*from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing of the Department of the Treasury


 George Washington (1st U.S. President) 


Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. President) 


Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. President) 


Alexander Hamilton (1st Secretary of the Treasury)  


Andrew Jackson (7th U.S. President)  


Ulysses Grant (18th U.S. President) 


Ben Franklin (Statesman) 


William McKinley (25th U.S. President)*


Grover Cleveland (22nd & 24th U.S. President)*


James Madison (4th U.S. President)*


Salmon Chase (U.S. Treasury Secretary under Lincoln)*


Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S. President)*

This note never appeared in general circulation, and was only used in transactions between Federal Reserve Banks.

* = Notes no longer in print or circulation

The Rules of Paper Money

*established in 1929 by U.S. Code, Title 31, Section 5114 (b)

1.  You have to be dead for at least two years to have your portrait on government securities.

2.  You have to be pretty recognizable to the general public. (Hint, being a former president and founding father helps, treasurer second best and being Ben Franklin, well, duh.) Portraits haven't changed since 1929.

3.  The Secretary of the Treasury may order new portraits and designs shown on United States currency. Unless specified by an Act of Congress, the Secretary generally has the final approval. This is done with the advice of Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) officials. In addition, the Commission on Fine Arts reviews all of the designs.

4. Lawmakers may order a change of portrait or a new denomination by an Act of Congress.


The Design Process & Timeframe

We envision the Treasury issuing the new $20 bill in time for the 100th anniversary, in 2020, of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. So we need to start now because once the Treasury Secretary sets the process in motion, both the design and printing process take time.

According to the Department of Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing: "Currency is designed with a purpose. When redesigning a note, designers strive to convey a dignified image that reflects the strength of the American economy; retain familiar characteristics that identify a note as American currency; incorporate the latest anti-counterfeiting features; and consider how details such as outlines, tone, and shading will 'translate' when engraved and printed on an intaglio press."