When we think of U.S. paper money, we typically picture the familiar portraits of past U.S. presidents, such as George Washington on the $1 bill or Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill. But did you know that not all U.S. paper money features a portrait of a U.S. president? In fact, there is a denomination of U.S. paper money that does not feature a presidential portrait at all. In this article, we will explore the history and design of U.S. paper money and answer the question: what is the lowest value of U.S. paper money without a portrait of a U.S. president?
A Brief History of U.S. Paper Money
The use of paper money in the United States dates back to the colonial era, when individual colonies issued their own paper currency to facilitate trade. In 1862, during the Civil War, the U.S. government began issuing paper currency in the form of “greenbacks” to finance the war effort. These early U.S. paper notes featured designs such as eagles, allegorical figures, and other symbols of American identity, but no portraits of presidents.
The Introduction of Presidential Portraits
In 1869, the U.S. government began issuing a new series of paper currency that featured portraits of prominent figures from American history, including U.S. presidents. The first notes in this series featured portraits of Abraham Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury who oversaw the creation of the new currency. Over the years, other U.S. presidents were added to the series, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson.
The Lowest Denomination Without a Presidential Portrait
Despite the popularity of presidential portraits on U.S. paper money, there is one denomination that does not feature a portrait of a U.S. president: the $10 bill. The current design of the $10 bill features an image of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
The Design of the $10 Bill
The current design of the $10 bill was introduced in 1929, and it has undergone several changes since then. The front of the bill features a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, along with several other elements that represent the history of the United States. These elements include an eagle, a shield, and a banner with the words “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “out of many, one” in Latin.
The back of the $10 bill features a vignette of the U.S. Treasury building, as well as several other elements that represent the history of the United States. These elements include a depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and a quotation from the Declaration that reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
The Future of the $10 Bill
In recent years, there have been discussions about redesigning the $10 bill to feature a portrait of a prominent American woman. In 2016, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist and political activist, would replace Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $20 bill. However, due to delays and changes in leadership, this redesign has not yet been implemented. It is unclear whether the redesign of the $10 bill will also move forward.
In conclusion, while U.S. paper money is most commonly associated with the portraits of past U.S. presidents, there is one denomination that does not feature a presidential portrait: the $10 bill. This bill features an image of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United