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ibstubro's avatar

Do you favor having images of real people on American currency, or would you prefer something more idealistic?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) April 20th, 2016

You can probably tell from the question that I yearn for the days of Liberty dollars and buffalo nickels.

If you prefer people, what good does it serve, especially if every person that ever walked the face of the Earth will have detractors to tarnish the legacy as deeply as possible.

I’d rather have the Eagle, the 13 colonies and other reminders of the heritage of American ideals.

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22 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

I like biographies. Feats and discoveries would be cool, too. The symbols like the Eagle and Columbia are good.

I guess I don’t care, but it should be consistent, and right now we have famous people.

The change I would like is some way for blind people to differentiate bills.

Coloma's avatar

I agree. I’d rather see Eagles and Golden trout and Buffalo and Pronghorn Antelope and Grizzly bears than ancient, long dead, presidents. lol

Darth_Algar's avatar

Most of the money I spend is spent via a plastic card emblazoned with a Visa logo, so I really don’t care one way or the other.

cookieman's avatar

I also would prefer symbols. Illustrations that would represent historical moments would be good as well.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

I just hope I have enough when the bill comes. I don’t care what the currency looks like.

johnpowell's avatar

It would be awesome to have what you can buy with the amount.

1$ = Slim Jim
5$ = Arby’s Melt and Curly fries
10$ = Baby loaf of Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese.
20$ = Pair of Dickies
50$ = 40 Arby’s melts
100$ = Two pairs of Dickies and 50 Arby’s Melts. (there will be some anal leakage)

Seek's avatar

I truly don’t care.

I agree with the assistance for the blind thing.

GSLeader's avatar

I’d favor less worrying about who is pictured on the things, more concentrating on making sure those pieces of paper are actually worth the numbers displayed in the corners.

JLeslie's avatar

It doesn’t matter to me. I’m fine with people on our money. Doesn’t US money (paper and coins) tend to have both? I never really thought about it. I don’t feel like turning in the light to look at the cash in my wallet right now.

Jak's avatar

Interesting thing about the eagle. I read the prophecy a couple months ago and had meant to read it again. Thank you for reminding me.

NerdyKeith's avatar

I don’t think any currency should have historical people on them. When we had the old Irish pound in Ireland before 2001, most of our coins had animals on the front and a harp on the back.

I think it might be an interesting idea to put an American monument on your currency. Maybe the statue of liberty or the empire state building or even the times square clock.

ibstubro's avatar

Remember the Indian head penny? Not for political correctness, but as part of America’s heritage. The Buffalo nickel was a beautiful, noble design.

I read the article you linked briefly, @Jak. I’ll get back to it, as it looks interesting.

I agree about not having historical people, @NerdyKeith. If nothing else because their elevation in the American conscious inevitably brings some sort of fall from grace. I doubt we’d ever privately owned monuments, like the Empire State Building, but there are natural wonders and other things we could commemorate. The Grand Canyon might translate well to a bill. while Old Faithful would be a great coin. We could heed the warning of the Passenger Pigeon.
With people it’s hard to determine the measure of influence or success. If we tried to honor the influential groups that heavily influenced American history – Native, African, Irish, Chinese, Italian to name a few – how do you choose an image that isn’t a strict stereotype?

elbanditoroso's avatar

You’re going to get arguments no matter whether it is people, animals, spaceships, or cartoon characters.

I’m in favor of geometric shapes: circles on a $1, 3-d hexagons on a $5, and so on.

ibstubro's avatar

At least that’s somewhat-educational, @elbanditoroso.
Maybe we should give “Smart Money” a shot.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@ibstubro – which means that the home school crowd will be against it.

Seek's avatar

Honestly, I just wish someone would approve a redesign of my state’s flag. It’s the laziest damned thing in existence: The state seal (which is cobbled-together and completely unrecognizable at a distance) on a white background. Then in 1900 someone realised it looked like a surrender flag and slapped a St. Andrew’s Cross behind it.

So, white field, big red X, and a blurry, vaguely gold circle with some chick on it throwing flowers? or rowing a boat? Picking palm dates? I can’t even remember.

rojo's avatar

I would prefer to do away with figures, historical or contemporary and replace them with scenic natural wonders found throughout the land.

But more and more it seems that it doesn’t matter. Years ago I quit carrying change; any I receive goes into a jar at home which, when full, is taken to the bank and cashed in.
Not sure when it happened but I seem to have quit using bills as well for the most part. I use either a debit card for small amounts or a credit card for anything over $10.00. I would estimate that over 99% of my purchases do not involve cash. Incidentally, my cards have a picture of the Alamo and a Cruise ship on them.

I have occasionally found myself without the means to purchase something (usually tacos or some other kind of street food) because they vendor does not take cards so I usually carry four $5.00 bill tucked into a side pocket in my wallet just in case that burrito looks too good to resist.

marinelife's avatar

I think it’s a good way of honoring prominent Americans.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I think that putting people on our paper currency and our symbols on coinage is a nice compromise, but I think the artwork could be better. Putting people we admire as a nation on our currency reflects how attitudes change and tells a story. I cite the replacement of Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman, which represents many things about our society, the foremost of which is the gains that have been made in civil rights.

Whereas before we honored a President that, among many other things, as a general oversaw the destruction of the Cherokee and Seminole in the Southeast US, then as president the forcible displacement and death march of the tribes from the Southeast to the “Indian Territory” which eventually became Oklahoma—now we choose to honor a heroine that helped to free yet another minority from persecution. This, in the future, is meaningful. It denotes a change of attitude. It is good to honor our people like this.

On coins, however, I personally think the best images we ever produced were symbols of our land, in particular those produced from the turn of the 20th century up to about WWII, with engravers like James Earle Fraser’s design for the Indian Head/Buffalo nickel, issued in early 1913. Today it is reproduced as a $50 piece in .9999 fine gold bullion.

Or the Saint-Gaudens’ engravings such as the double eagle $20 gold piece with an eagle in flight on the sun’s rays and a standing Liberty in flowing sheer garments holding a torch on the obverse. Today, the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle survives as a one-ounce gold bullion $50 coin that retails for about $2,000.

His work culminated in his magnificent 1907 – 1933 Indian Head $10 gold half-eagle produced posthumously at the mint’s insistence. This particular coin design has not been produced in any form since 1933.

One of my all-time favorites is Adolph Weiman’s Walking Liberty Half Dollar silver coin. This is the most beautiful Liberty of them all, in my opinion. The design survives today as a .9999 fine one ounce, Walking Liberty one dollar .9999 fine silver bullion coin, known as the American Silver Eagle.

Then there is the 1921 Peace Dollar silver one-ounce coin a design which perfectly depicts the transition from the Edwardian Era into the Roaring Twenties, but the sentiments behind it and it’s story are remarkable. (I used this coin when I stepped my mast).

I don’t see why we can’t bring these designs back in more popular, usable denominations during these last days of coinage. I find them much more beautiful than the worn-out Jefferson State Quarters that have flooded the market in the past few years. These designs shouldn’t be too difficult to reproduce in detail with modern engraving techniques and the harder metals we use today in our coinage. I don’t see the pride, detail or beauty that was once in vogue during the fin de secle in our coinage—or our architecture, for that matter. And I don’t see why we can’t have coins like that again.

rojo's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus So true, like the beautiful stamps of yesteryear. While you can still buy some gorgeous stamps they are for a particular denomination. The vast majority of stamps purchased today are the “Forever” stamps that you can use regardless of what the postage price becomes in the future and unfortunately they are very simplistic in design, usually of a patriotic bent and not very appealing. Would it cost more to produce a “forever” stamp of beauty?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I’m pretty happy with the real folks on our currency now. I don’t see any reason to change them.

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