Treasury Department Announces Alexander Hamilton Will Share Image on $10 Bill With a Woman Starting in 2020

Treasury Secretary Jacob. J Lew says the female figure could be decided upon as soon as this fall

By Zach Johnson Jun 18, 2015 12:07 PMTags
$10 BillsGetty

Welcome to the 21st century!

A woman will appear on the $10 bill beginning in 2020, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. She will replace the main image of the treasury's founder, Alexander Hamilton. The new note will be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The last woman to appear on a bill was Martha Washington, in the late 19th century.

But who will the woman be?

Legally, the decision belongs to Treasury Secretary Jacob. J Lew. However, he will consider the public's input regarding which female historical figure should appear on U.S. paper currency for the first time in 119 years. "We're going to spend a lot of time this summer listening to people," Lew said Wednesday.

A decision could come as soon as this fall. Hamilton isn't going away entirely, however, as he's been on the $10 bill since 1928. His likeness will appear on the either reverse side or in a separate series of bills.

The new bills will go into circulation starting in 2020.

"America's currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for. Our paper bills—and the images of great American leaders and symbols they depict—have long been a way for us to honor our past and express our values," Lew said. "We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman." Lew added that the decision had been in the planning stages before he began his job in 2013. President Barack Obama endorsed the idea for a woman on paper currency last year, calling it "a pretty good idea."

Pocahontas was first woman to appear on a paper bill, gracing a $20 note beginning in 1865. By law, no living person may appear on a bill, and George Washington must always remain on the $1.

The decision to feature a woman on the $10 bill spares Andrew Jackson, who appears on the $20 bill. This year, an online petition urged the Department of Treasury to replace Jackson with Harriet Tubman.