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March 26, 2015

Eleanor, Rosa, Barbara & Barbara

Harry M. Covert

The movement has started. Not quite sure how long it will be before it’s consummated, but the train is moving. To be somewhat honest, I figure midway through the first term of the first woman president the $20 bill will have a new face.

I well know that change is coming for a new frontispiece to replace that old rogue Andrew Jackson, the seventh president. He’s had it long enough, 87 years. But, friends in Lexington, VA., don’t get too excited. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson isn’t going to be the new person or even considered.

The U. S. Bureau of Engraving is being assaulted to make some changes. Why not, I ask? Lots of activity with suggestions and nominations are being lined up.

I haven’t taken any polls to find out just who Marylanders prefer for the “double-sawbuck.” No. Not Sen. Barbara Mikulski – yet. To be considered for the honor nominees must be dead, in the world here-after. There would be lots of squawking if Barbara Fritchie from Frederick were nominated. She was also known as Barbara Frietchie, sometimes spelled Frietschie.

There’s no need to discuss the pros and cons of the War of Northern Aggression. I want to get my two cents in before the big dogs get into action. Without question, Eleanor Roosevelt, should have the honor above all. She was quite a person in her own right, raised a distinguished family and was married to that fellow FDR.

Other worthy candidates are out there and it is high time to change that paper money design. The current Jackson didn’t even like paper money. It is rather pleasant, though, to have a bunch of Jacksons in the wallets or pockets.

Examinations of the facial makeup of paper denominations will undoubtedly bring about maybe updating the $2 bill. That’s the bill of Thomas Jefferson. For those historical revisionists and other naysayers, he was author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.

Mr. Jefferson also brought home the tomato after some time as ambassador to France. I didn’t forget. He had an influence on wine, wine-making and other endeavors of societal impact.

Back to the $2 note. They are in circulation and are fun to use.

While we are considering the $20 bill, let’s get the ball rolling. Why not add photos on the front and back of all denominations? Why only one person per bill. I wouldn’t object to Eleanor Roosevelt on the front and say, for example, Rosa Parks on the reverse. Or, why not several different $20 bills?

I am not going to be shocked at all if there is a woman president in the White House in a couple of years. There will be lots of changes when that happens and the Bureau of Engraving, with or without congressional support, will follow the rules of Madam Chief Executive. I still prefer Ms. Roosevelt. She wrote My Day, a six-day newspaper column for years while handling the duties of First Lady and mothering six children.

For that column alone, which she wrote without a ghost writer, she should be honored and remembered. What discipline she had.

There are some numismatists with other ideas and some political wits who think there should be a $3 bill. There are lots of candidates for this odd number. But naming them would not be nice because that denomination would be for unpopular people. Swirling about are Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Nixon, Carter. This is not a nice thing to do in these quarters, though most certainly there are other candidates.

American currency is something else and is the envy of the world. The Benjamin Franklins, the hundred-dollar paper, is popular, too. I don’t hear any movement to put Bill Gates anywhere. His stock certificates though are worth having around in a personal or bank safe deposit box.


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