2016 Ronald Reagan dollar & 2016-W Nancy Reagan $10 gold coin
If there is news that you want buried, you would release the news on Friday afternoon. Washington politicians are notorious for creating these media dumps late on Friday. By the time the media can digest the dump, the press offices are closed for the weekend leaving the media to try to explain the stories based on what they have. However, the public is into its weekend and fewer are paying attention.
On the Friday before the Independence Day celebration weekend, the U.S. Mint released the Ronald Reagan dollar and Nancy Reagan first spouse coin marking the end of the program.
The Presidential Dollar program has had an interesting history. Passed by congress in December 2005 and later signed by President George W. Bush, the Presidential $1 Coin Act (Pub. L. 108-145) ordered the U.S. Mint to create a $1 coin to commemorate the Nation’s past Presidents and an accompanying $10 gold coin to commemorate the President’s spouse (First Lady). Coins appeared in order that the president served and the president must be deceased for two year prior to the coin’s issue. Since Jimmy Carter is still living, he was bypassed and the last coin was for Ronald Reagan.
2012 First Spouse coin featuring Alice Paul
First Spouse gold coin, they bore the image of the first spouse of the corresponding president with historical information about the spouse on the reverse are issued for each spouse. For the cases where the president was widowed prior to taking office, the obverse of a contemporary coin was used and a historical image is used on the reverse. The only exception was the 2012 coin honoring Alice Paul to coincide with the Chester A. Arthur presidential dollar. Since Arthur was widowed prior to his inauguration, the law gave the honor to Alice Paul, a suffragette who was born during Arthur’s administration. The program ended with the issue of the Nancy Reagan coin.
For the first time in the modern era the date, mintmark, and mottos “E Pluribus Unum” and “In God We Trust” struck into (incuse) the edge of the coin. The last time edge lettering was used on circulating U.S. coinage was in the 1790s.
With the edge lettering a new process for the U.S. Mint, it was no surprised that coins left the Mint without the mottos stamped in the edge. Dubbed the “godless dollar” the error caused an uproar over some people suggesting that the government was conspiring against religion by leaving the motto off of the coin. This was described as either a willful omission or a way to attack religion. There was no narrative that accepted that this was just a mistake.
Our national nightmare ended when congress updated the law (Pub. L. 110-161) to move the motto from the edge to the obverse of the coin. E Pluribus Unum, the date and mintmark was left on the edge.
Then there was the breathless story by National Public Radio that decried the tax dollars being wasted by the approximately $1.4 Billion of dollar coins being stored in the Federal Reserves’ vaults. The story was filled with partial truths and did not properly explain the situation. When I tried to reach out to NPR, I was rebuffed by a reporter who decided a low-level Treasury staffer who did not have the first clue about reality was more credible
While the media was blaming the U.S. Mint and the Federal Reserve, they forgot to read the law. According to the law, there were mintage minimums that congress wrote into the law including the one that said the Sacagawea dollar was to comprise one-third of the dollar coin production. As part of the legislation, the U.S. Mint and Federal Reserve were supposed to promote the coin’s use and provide educational materials for the public.
Congress, who wrote and passed the original legislation, was tripping all over themselves to introduce bills to end the program while pounding their collective chests claiming they were acting in the public interest.
This nightmare ended when then Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ordered a reduction in the production of all dollar coins. None of the bills introduced to eliminate the dollar coin were ever heard in committee and died at the end of the 113th congress.
But the series couldn’t continue without one more controversy. The way the law was written, it was interpreted that it would end with the first living president. In this case, the program would have ended with the coin honoring Gerald Ford since Jimmy Carter is still living. This did not sit well with the fans of Ronald Reagan who have spent the time since his convalescence and death trying to plaster his name all over everything including an airport that employed air traffic controllers he fired placing the nation’s skies at risk.
The same members of congress that introduced bills to eliminate the program were now demanding the program be extended by one president. Ironically, they waited until after the resignation of Mint Director Edmund Moy and approached the acting Director Richard Peterson. Although Peterson was named acting director, he was a career government employee with impeccable credentials but had to have a different relationship with the politicians than an appointed director would. The matter was deferred to Treasurer Rosie Rios and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew who approved the extension of the program.
George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison
James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield
Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland
William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson
Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan
First Spouse Gold $10 Coins
Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty,† Dolley Madison
Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Adams, Andrew Jackson’s Liberty,† Martin Van Buren’s Liberty†
Anna Harrison, Letitia Tyler,‡ Julia Tyler,†† Sarah Polk, Margaret Taylor
Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, James Buchanan’s Liberty,* Mary Lincoln
Eliza Johnson, Julia Grant, Lucy Hayes, Lucretia Garfield
Ida McKinley, Edith Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Ellen Wilson,‡ Edith Wilson††
Florence Harding, Grace Coolidge, Lou Hoover, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Elizabeth Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson
Patricia Ryan “Pat” Nixon, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan
President was widowed prior to inauguration
First Spouse died during the president’s term
Married the president during the president’s term
James Buchanan was the only bachelor president
President Chester Arthur was widowed prior to inauguration. However, the authorizing law gives the coin honor to Alice Paul, a suffragette who was born during Arthur’s administration
When the Reagan dollar was issued, 39 presidents representing 40 terms were issued.
Along with Nancy Reagan, 35 other first spouses were honored (Frances Cleveland appeared twice), four different Liberty coins were issued, and one was issued to honor suffragette Alice Paul.
President Reagan horseback riding at Rancho del Cielo with Freebo (his daughter’s dog) and Victory the golden retriever following.
As the program now quietly rides off into the proverbial sunset, maybe it is time to let the America the Beautiful Quarters® complete their run through 2021 and give the circulating commemoratives a rest.
Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint
Reagan on horsback “April 4, 1986 photo courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.” Downloaded from PresidentialPetMuseum.com
We have seen the many packages of shredded currency. From the little packages with $5.00 of shredded currency to 5 pound bags filled with approximately $10,000 shredded money, this was the primary way currency did not just get thrown away. Since 2014, the Federal Reserve has been working with recyclers across the country to turn that shredded cash into something else useful.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Federal Reserve pushed for more recycling of currency in 2011. Since each Federal Reserve bank manages its own cash operations each works with local recyclers to provide the cash. In most cases, the recycler hauls away the shredded cash for no charge to the bank and turns it into other products.
Could the DC Metro’s Smartrip Card be the future of a cashless society?
Sweden is an interesting example that may not apply to the United States. The country that introduced the first banknotes to Europe in 1661 has transformed itself into a larger digital economy. Many shops and most banks have stopped handling cash. In areas that were traditional cash-related transactions, there has been a ticket or electronic system in installed. Busses require pre-paid tickets. Other mass transit relies on credit cards or pre-paid debit cards like the Metrocard in New York or the SmartTrip Card in Washington. These cards are less expensive to produce than paper tickets or tokens.
But could a cashless society work in the United States?
A key measure of the power of an economy is the Gross Domestic Product, the total cost of goods and services produced by the economy. As of 2012, the most recent statistics available, Sweden’s GDP is $184.8 billion (converted to US dollar equivalent) versus $1.56 trillion for the United States—eight times the Swedish economy. Sweden’s economy ranks 28th and the U.S. 2nd only behind the combined European Union.
For the record, China’s 2012 GDP, third on the list, was $8.36 trillion, just over half of the U.S. GDP.
The United States makes more money, spends more money, trades more money, and has more economic impact than any other country in the world.
The first problem with trying to replicate what Sweden is doing is one of scale. The United States has the single largest economy in the world. While the European Union has a larger GDP, it is made up of cooperating countries with their own sovereign interests. While some might say that it is the same as the 50 states, the federal structure of a single republic versus several cooperating republics of Europe makes like the equivalent of swallowing the ocean in one gulp versus several gulps controlled by cooperating governments in Europe. Even when European governments do not cooperate, they can individually work better than what has been going on in the United States.
Another key indicator is the poverty rate. It is important to consider those in poverty because they usually do not have the resources to participate in the advanced structures of society. People living in poverty do not have access to credit regardless of where they live, even if they do have some access to the technologies that support cashless access. Although companies are giving away smartphones in many poverty stricken areas, those customers continue to have problems paying their bills. These are the people who rely on cash.
What may account for Sweden’s low use of cash is their low percentage of its citizens in poverty. With a poverty rate of 3.97-percent, this may account for the 3-percent average currency usage. Poverty in the United States is 5-times more than Sweden at 20.59-percent. While this in itself may not be a definitive indicator, it could explain why there is a vocal opposition of anti-poverty groups when discussion turn to eliminating the cent or a cashless society.
Those who preach a cashless society and point to Sweden also fails to consider one factor that only few countries have faces: the United States has probably one of the most diverse populations. Current politics notwithstanding, the United States has historically been more open to immigration than most other nations. Sweden, while a wonderful place, has a lesser and more homogenous population. Swedes are rightfully proud of themselves, their heritage, and history and has a culture more conducive to working together.
When was the last time that we saw the United States all together? Even after the attacks of September 11, 2001, there were segments of the population that has called it a hoax and said that the government bombed itself to press an agenda.
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Obverse – The last lowest denomination coin eliminated by the congress.
Even those who want to end production of the one-cent coins and uses the end of the half-cent as an example of the U.S. ending production of a no longer needed low denomination coin gets the reasons wrong for the reasons why its production was ended. Those who know better reminds them of the reasons and many stammer in shame before puffing out their chests and saying they are right, anyway.
In 2015, the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced more coins and currency than ever. Both government agencies produce their main products because it was ordered by the Federal Reserve, the central banking organization of the United States. Even though paper currency may be exported, most coins are circulated in the United States for domestic use.
If there is any indication that the United States is moving to a cashless society, then why is currency production at its highest in history?
Interestingly, 2015 was the 50th Anniversary of clad, non-silver coinage except for the half-dollar that was produced with 40-percent silver until 1969. To this day there are people to decry the use of fiat money.
Regardless of what pundits say, the United States economy is more broad, diverse, and not as easy to control as in Sweden. If the United States ever gets to the point where it can support a cashless society, it might not be during the lifetime of anyone reading this today. These pundits do not see beyond their caramel macchiatos to understand the Real World.
Keep collecting this coins. Your great grandchildren may enjoy them but their grandchildren may find them interesting curiosities.
Over the summer, a Harris Poll was conducted to understand how Americans feel about abolishing the one-cent coin and the paper dollar note. Even though there are pundits calling for these changes and even the end of physical currency, Harris found that those wanting to keep the lowly one-cent coin continue to hold the majority opinion.
Series 1935 $1 FRN Reverse Early Design
According to Harris, 51-percent of those polled oppose abolishing the minting and use of one-cent coins versus 29-percent in favor. In 2008, 56-percent were opposed and 24-percent were in favor. While some will see a small movement to being in favor of eliminating the one-cent coin, the change is not significant when considering that the last poll was seven years ago shortly before the height of the recession and the beginning of the bank failures.
Those of us who work in areas outside the larger commercial world has experience with a cash economy that is not tied to economic status. One of those is the numismatics industry. While many dealers will take credit cards, and will pass along the fees along to the customer, many dealers have said that most of their off-line business is a cash-based business. While larger purchases are done using checks, most will leave shows with more hard currency than other types of payments.
1909-VDB Lincoln Cent
Collectibles businesses are very reliant on cash. In my business, I do accept credit cards but when I do shows the overwhelming majority of my business is in cash. A few weeks ago I did a two day show and had one of my best weekends ever but only had one sale using a credit card.
There are people who are leery of using credit and debit cards for every transaction. We use cash to limit our exposure. In this connected world, the credit and debit card leaves a digital breadcrumb that is available to be hacked. I cannot tell you how many times I watched people in local convenience stores punch in their codes in a matter I could see them and then leave their receipts behind. This could be used to steal your money and your debit cards are not covered the same as credit cards. But the public does not see this.
A week does not go by without a report of the hacking of personal information that should not be made public. Unfortunately, it is getting to be like rain on the hot-tin roof, after a while the sound blends into the background.
According to the Federal Reserve, there was approximately $1.39 trillion in circulation as of September 30, 2015, of which $1.34 trillion was in Federal Reserve notes. That represents a lot of money that would have to be accounted for if we were to go into a cashless society. It would take a significant effort that would not make for good public policy.
The calls to make changes to change are beginning to drone on as background noise like rain on a hot-tin roof.
The discussions have ranged from the reasoned (leave Alexander Hamilton on the $10 note because was our first Secretary of the Treasury) to the absurd (why change?) and the misogynistic that will not be repeated here.
I do not understand the the “why change” reasoning. There once was a time when there were regular changes to U.S. currency and there is no record of an uproar from the public. In 1929, the Federal Reserve reduced the size of the note from 7.375 x 3.125 inches to their present size of 6.14 x 2.61 inches. The change from Silver Certificates to Federal Reserve Notes and the color of the seals not withstanding, the designs have remained relatively the same since 1929.
65. World War II Emergency Issue Series 1935A $1 Silver Certificate With “HAWAII” Overprint (Fr# 2300)
66. Series 1928 $10,000 Federal Reserve Note (Fr# 2203-A thru 2203-L)
76. Series 1928 $1,000 Gold Certificate (Fr# 2408)
77. World War II Emergency Issue Series 1935A $1 Silver Certificate With Yellow Seal (North Africa Note) (Fr# 2306)
92. Series 1928 $5,000 Federal Reserve Note (Fr# 2220-A thru 2220-L)
99. Series 1928 $1,000 Federal Reserve Note (Fr# 2210-A thru 2210-L)
Of this list, only two notes were issued for general circulation and those were emergency issues because of World War II. The others are high denomination notes not usually circulated for the general public. After all, carrying around a $1,000 note will be equivalent to carrying around $13,914.91 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
United States currency used to be beautiful. There was a regality in its design that represented the nation. Even the Education Notes from the Series of 1896 Silver Certificates were phenomenal in their design and artwork. Today’s note, while secure, do not compare to their past counterparts.
Let’s see if we can figure out what the best way forward.
What should the Treasury do about currency design?
Leave things the way they are. (34%, 10 Votes)
Change all of the portraits. It's time to give other historical figures a chance. (34%, 10 Votes)
Remove all portraits and use other designs. (21%, 6 Votes)
Designs of small size currency stinks. Leave the portraits and look at what other countries are doing for inspiration. (7%, 2 Votes)
I don't care. (3%, 1 Votes)
What difference does it make. Non-cash transactions (credit cards, e-currency) are the wave of the future. (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 29
Leave any comments below!
Image courtesy of the National Numismatic Collection via Wikipedia.
The new note is scheduled for release in the year 2020, which coincides with the passage of the 19th Amendment that declared:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
According to the Treasury Department, the $10 note was selected to be redesigned to add Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) based on their study of counterfeiting activity. This decision was made by the ACD Steering Committee, an inter-agency group that monitors a number of factors that go into the maintenance of U.S. currency. One of the factors includes the ongoing discussion of features that will help increase accessibility for the visually impaired as part of the court mandated Meaningful Access Program. Treasury reports that the new note “will include a tactile feature that increases accessibility for the visually impaired.”
The last time Treasury changed the portrait on U.S. currency was in 1928 when Andrew Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland on the $20 notes. Alexander Hamilton first appeared on the $10 note in 1923 when his portrait replace Andrew Jackson’s. Although the portraits have been redesigned, the same men have appeared on U.S. currency during small-sized note era (since 1928).
Series 1886 $1 Silver Certificate featuring Martha Washington (Fr #217)
The last woman to appear on U.S. currency was Martha Washington. Our first First Lady’s portrait appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896.
Lew is asking the public to provide suggestions as to whom should be the new face on the $10 note. She should be a woman “who was a champion for our inclusive democracy,” according to the Treasury statement. You can submit comments on their new website thenew10.treasury.gov or make your suggestion on social media using the hashtag #TheNew10.
The organization Women on 20s has been lobbying to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 note. Their reason was that our seventh president was not exactly a nice guy and his treatment of Native tribes was less than humane along with other transgressions. In their online vote, Harriet Tubman was their popular selection. If Tubman was selected she would also be the first African-American to appear on U.S. paper currency (George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington were the first African-American men to appear on coins; Duke Ellington was the last appearing the District of Columbia quarter).
In fact, Hamilton shared his bed with more than one woman – making him one of the first subjects of a political sex scandal.
While his wife, Elizabeth, and kids were staying with relatives, Hamilton began an affair with a young woman named Maria Reynolds in 1791. He was secretary of the Treasury at the time, and Reynolds and her husband started extorting money from Hamilton. Hamilton eventually confessed to the affair in full detail in a pamphlet that also featured letters between him and his mistress.
Interestingly, according to Bloomberg news, “The $10 bill is the third least-circulated among the seven major denominations, accounting for 5.2 percent of 36.4 billion notes in use at the end of last year.” The $100 note is the most circulated of all U.S. currency notes.
Image of the current $10 note courtesy of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Image of the Series 1886 $1 Silver Certificate courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Mockup of Harriet Tubman on the $20 note courtesy of Women on 20s
In an early morning press release, the U.S. Mint announced that they would be going from a two-shift operation to a three-shift operation citing increased production requirements for circulating coins.
The main job of the U.S. Mint is to supply circulating coinage to the Federal Reserve banks. These Federal Reserve branch banks then circulate the coins to member banks and distributors where they will eventually enter daily commerce. As part of their operations, the Federal Reserve will order coins from the U.S. Mint to supplement the money supply and provide the a forecast for the next 12-months. In order to meet the production requirements, the U.S. Mint uses the forecast to adjust their operations.
During the downturn in the economy, the U.S. Mint adjusted to a 4-day, 10 hours per shift schedule. Halting production so that the machines do not run on Friday saved money by lowering the electricity requirements and allowed for a broader maintenance program. Along with the schedule adjustments, the U.S. Mint instituted production efficiencies that have lead to lower costs. The result has been a an increase in seigniorage for the agency even during the downturn in the economy and the rising cost of base metals that have lead to debates over coin composition.
With this move, the U.S. Mint is likely going back to a 5-day, 8 hours per shift schedule. This will make the U.S. Mint a 24-hour operation again. It also means that they will have to hire people to work at the world’s largest coin factories in Philadelphia and Denver. The U.S. Mint anticipate that an additional 46 people will be hired in Philadelphia and 40 in Denver. They will be hiring quickly since they want to be up and running with their third shift by the mid-June to July timeframe.
If you are interested in working for the U.S. Mint, the positions will be posted on the federal government’s jobs website usajobs.gov. You can also visit the U.S. Mint’s online careers page to learn more about working for the U.S. Mint.
For those of us who are political junkies, April was a relatively quiet month. At least there was something to watch that was more related to the hobby than the usual partisan bickering. Here are the coin and currency-related legislation moving through congress:
S. 925: Women on the Twenty Act
Sponsor: Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
• A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel of citizens to make a recommendation to the Secretary regarding the likeness of a woman on the twenty dollar bill.
• Introduced: April 14, 2015
• Referred to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Track this bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s925
S. 95: A bill to terminate the $1 presidential coin program
Sponsor: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
• Introduced: January 7, 2015
• Discharged from Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs by Unanimous Consent on April 14, 2015
• Referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on April 14, 2015
Track this bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s95
S. 985: United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
• To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the United States Coast Guard.
• Introduced: April 16, 2015
• Referred to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Track this bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s985
During the course of searching for information, I stumbled upon the website for Women on 20s. It is a site dedicated to replacing the image of President Andrew Jackson with a woman by 2020. The group has targeted the $20 Federal Reserve Note to be replaced 2020 because it is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.
Jackson is being targeted because as we look back through the long lens of history, he was not exactly a model person judging by today’s standards. During the War of 1812, Jackson led U.S. Army troops against native tribes working with the British against the United States to regain the lands taken following the colonies’ independence. It was said that Jackson’s troops were brutal against the native tribes on his orders, killing them rather than taking prisoners.
After beating back the British in the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson declared martial law in New Orleans and used his troops to enforce martial law. Aside from having a magistrate arrested who sided with a newspaper reporter writing who was arrested for writing negatively about his rule, he had members of the local militia who sided with the British executed without trial and went on to use it as propaganda to allegedly maintain order.
As president, Jackson’s policies to relocated native tribes lead to the Indian Removal Act that codified his policies. This lead to the “Trail of Tears” that forced the relocation of Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations from their ancestral homelands in the southeast to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Indian Territory. It is considered the most violent and brutal act against the native tribes in United States history.
To have Jackson’s portrait on the United States central banks’ currency is also a bit ironic. Jackson was against the concept of a central bank and refused to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States and vetoed the bill to continue its charter. After winning election in 1833, Jackson withdrew all of the country’s funds from the bank limiting the bank’s ability to conduct business. He gave power to local banks to lend money and issued the Specie Circular, an executive order requiring government transaction be done in gold and silver coin (specie).
Poster issued by the Whig Party blaming Jackson for the Panic of 1837
With the western expansion and federal lands being made for sale and the requirement that duties were to be paid in gold and silver, this created a run on banks that could not provide the hard currency necessary for people to exchange their banknote. Although Jackson paid off the country’s debt in 1835, the only year it has ever been paid off, the squeeze on currencies, lack of central management of money, corrupt bank practices, and reckless land speculation by railroads lead to the Panic of 1837. The resulting depression lasted five years and included the default of many banks and the treasuries of many states. Remember, this was long before the deposits were insured by the federal government.
The Women on 20s organization does not believe that this should be the legacy honored on U.S. currency. But if we look into the history of all of the men on U.S. currency, there are aspects of their pasts and personal lives that would make some blush, including Benjamin Franklin’s common law wife and illegitimate son.
Women on 20s do recognize that suffragette Susan B. Anthony did appear on a one dollar coin but the coin failed because of its confusion with the quarter. They also recognize that Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, appears on the current one-dollar coin. Aside from the 2003 Alabama State Quarter, no other woman has appeared on circulating coinage (they do not count commemorative issues). Since neither dollar coin has circulated well and since the Alabama quarter was a temporary issue, the organization believes a better tribute is warranted.
In what looks like an addendum to their argument, they mention that a portrait of Martha Washington appeared on the Series 1886 (Fr. #215) and 1891 (Fr. # 223) $1 Silver Certificates. Both Martha and George Washington appeared on the reverse of $1 Series 1896 Educational Series note (Fr. #224).
To decide who they will try to lobby to appear on the $20 note, the organization started with 15 candidates. Voters were asked to select thee of the 15 candidates in this preliminary round. The top vote-getters will be subject to another final voting round.
2012 First Spouse coin featuring Alice Paul
In the first round, the 15 candidates were Alice Paul (appeared on the 2012 First Spouse gold coin), Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony (appeared on the 1979-1999 dollar coin), Eleanor Roosevelt (appeared on the 2014 First Spouse gold coin), and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Women on 20s reported that 256,659 people had cast ballots when the first round ended on April 5, 2015. They reported that Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks were named by as many as half of the voters as one of their top three. They added Wilma Mankiller to the final ballot. Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation and the first female to be a chief of a native nation, was added because of a claimed “strong public sentiment that people should have the choice of a Native American to replace Andrew Jackson.”
Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
Since congress does not control the design of the currency, Women on 20s will have to convince the Federal Reserve to change the design of the $20 Federal Reserve Note. If the Federal Reserve, whose chair is Janet Yellen, agrees to the change, they will work with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for the design and the U.S. Secret Service to ensure that the appropriate anti-counterfeiting measures are included.
Design changes to any Federal Reserve Note can take 3-5 years to complete.
NOTE: I contacted the Women on 20s organization for comments via email. That email has not been returned at the time of writing this article. If they answer my questions, I will publish them in a follow up post.
Image of the $20 FRN and Whig Party poster courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Coin images courtesy of the U.S. Mint Image of Wilma Mankiller courtesy of the Native American Encyclopedia.
In short, both money production bureaus will be able to withdraw the money from their respective funds to fully support their operations.
Department of the Treasury requested that the BEP be allowed to withdraw $863 million for operations. The BEP have a total outlay of $918 million but will leverage $50 million from their current operating funds to make up the difference. Using projections from the previous years, the BEP anticipates an order for 8.3 billion notes or a 15-percent increase. Of the area that the BEP will be concentrating on includes additional research into anti-counterfeiting methods, make currency more accessible to the visually impaired, and modernizing the production process in Washington, D.C.
The budget does mention that the BEP was given legal authority to print currency for foreign countries with the approval of the State Department in 2005. However, the BEP has yet to be contracted by any country for this service. Many countries appear more interested in using the polymer substrate produced by the Reserve Bank of Australia than continuing to use cotton-fiber paper, which is favored in the United States.
Funding for the U.S. Mint is different in that while the Federal Reserve pays a fixed fee per currency note to the BEP, they pay face value for the coins they purchase from the U.S. Mint. Even though it costs more than face value to produce the one-cent and five-cent coins, the deficit is more than made up on the quarter dollar, the workhorse of the U.S. coin economy.
To fund its $3.59 billion operation, the U.S. Mint will be allowed to withdraw up to $20 million from their Public Enterprise Fund. That appropriation is only a cushion in case there is a shortfall in the anticipated $4.14 billion revenues. Although the U.S. Mint is now being run by Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson, the organization is unlikely to reverse the production improvements implemented by former Deputy Director Richard Peterson.
One notable statement says, “The 2016 Budget includes a proposal to require the silver coins in United States Mint Silver Proof Sets to contain no less than 90 percent silver. Under current law, the half-dollar, quarter-dollar and dime coins in these sets “shall be made of an alloy of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.” Allowing the Mint to have flexibility in this composition will improve efficiency in the production process, lowering the costs for these products.” It appears that the U.S. Mint is asking congress to allow them to use another metal than copper while not changing the silver content. With the cost of copper rising to historic levels, using a less expensive metal on a coin that is not intended for circulation could be a cost savings.
While there will be political fireworks over other aspects of the president’s budget, those of us concerned with the money production by the Department of the Treasury can sit back and worry about other issues.