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Treasury expected to promote historic woman to $20 bill, preserving Hamilton on $10 note

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said changes to the $5, $10 and $20 bill are under consideration.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Many critics say it's ironic that Andrew Jackson is featured on the $20 or any other bill because he loathed paper currency. Photo by v777999/Shutterstock
Many critics say it's ironic that Andrew Jackson is featured on the $20 or any other bill because he loathed paper currency. Photo by v777999/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury is expected to announce this week that its plan to prominently feature a woman on the $10 bill will change in favor of replacing former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Instead of making a historically important woman the main image on the $10, relegating Alexander Hamilton to the back of the bill, the founder of the United States' financial system will likely remain where he is, with a number of other important figures or slices of U.S. history on the back.

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An announcement is expected later this week, an anonymous U.S. official told CNN. The source also told CNN that the $20 bill would feature an American woman who represents the struggle for racial equality in the United States. The soonest the new note would be issued is 2030 because of a lengthy process to deter counterfeiting in currency design.

Critics said early on that Jackson doesn't belong on U.S. currency because of his vigorous advocacy of the Indian Removal Act, which purged tribes from the South and into Oklahoma in what became the devastating Trail of Tears that killed large segments of tribes being forced to relocate. Jackson also loathed paper money and the central banking system.

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Last year's announcement of a proposed overhaul of the $10 bill to feature a woman quickly found a national audience eager to suggest appropriate honorees -- former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and female leaders of the suffrage and abolitionist movements were often mentioned. Fans of Hamilton, and of a currently popular Broadway play based on his life, Hamilton, also weighed in, saying the less-popular Jackson should be replaced instead.

It's not just the $10 and $20 bills that could receive a new treatment. Abraham Lincoln is currently depicted on the $5 bill and will likely remain there but with the back of the bill redesigned to reflect historical moments occurring at Washington's Lincoln Memorial.

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"We're not just talking about one bill. We're talking about the $5, the $10, and the $20. We're not just talking about one picture on one bill. We're talking about using the front and the back of the bill to tell an exciting set of stories. We're going to have a representation of the contribution women have made to our democracy on the next bill that's issued. And that's going to be the $10... I'm not saying who's where or what's where. We're going to have an exciting set of announcements," Lew told CNBC Sunday.

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The announcements could come this week, but results won't be seen in American wallets for years. The Advance Counterfeit Deterrence steering committee, comprised of Treasury, Federal Reserve and U.S. Secret Service representatives, must design and execute a variety of anti-counterfeit elements on the new currency. And because of counterfeit deterrence procedures it won't be until 2030 that new bills will enter circulation.

"The blue security stripe on the $100 note took over 15 years to develop," CNN's source noted.

Any future Federal Reserve Secretary could also change or reverse the upcoming plans.

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