'Right on the Money' Trivia

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Many people recognize Alexander Hamilton because his face is found on the US $10 bill.

As the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton had an unparalled impact on the development of the nation's economy and finances. He also founded the US Mint and oversaw the first money coined under the new Constitutional government. So it is only fitting that Hamilton is featured on US bank notes.

Learn more about Hamilton's historic presence on US currency, as well as some fun facts about the "ten spot".

Alexander Hamilton: Right on the Money
General Fun Facts 

♦ Alexander Hamilton is one of two people featured on currently-issued US bills that were never president of the United States (the other is Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill). 
♦ Hamilton is the only person featured on currently-issued US currency who was not born in the United States. 
♦ The only left-facing portrait of all the currently-circulating paper bills is Alexander Hamilton's.

A close-up of the back of the $10 bill: The US Treasury Building and The statue of Alexander HamiltonA close-up of the back of the $10 bill: The US Treasury Building and The statue of Alexander Hamilton

♦ Hamilton is featured twice on the same bill - on the reverse side of the $10 bill is a depiction of the US Treasury Building with its statue of Alexander Hamilton. (This is also true of Abraham Lincoln, whose statue inside the Lincoln Memorial is on the back of the $5, and Thomas Jefferson, who can be found in Trumbull's Declaration of Independence printed on the back on the $2 bill) 
♦ Alexander Hamilton is the only person who has been featured on US currency continuously since it first started being printed in the 1861.

♦ Alexander Hamilton has been pictured on seven different US denominations of paper currency - more than any other person ever

♦Alexander Hamilton has been on eight different types of US currency – Demand Notes, US Notes (Legal Tender Notes), Interest-Bearing Notes, Compound Interest Treasury Notes, Gold Certificates, Silver Certificates, Certificates of Indebtedness, and Federal Reserve Notes [what we use today]. This doesn't include savings bonds and other types of money instruments!

Bills, Bills, Bills

Alexander Hamilton has been pictured on 7 different US denominations:
See examples of each below

US Note 1862 $2.00US Note 1862 $2.00

 The first $2 United States Note was issued with a portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the front. It was introduced in 1862. United States Notes were the first widespread US currency. They have also been the longest-circulating form of paper money in the US.1


Comparison of the 1861 $5 Demand Note and the 1862 $5 United States NoteComparison of the 1861 $5 Demand Note and the 1862 $5 United States Note


 The $5 Demand Note from 1861 and $5 United States Note from 1862 featured the 1792 John Trumbull portrait of Alexander Hamilton and the Statue of Freedom that is on top of the US Capitol building (even though at the time of the bill's issue the statue was not complete!). Demand Notes were the first general circulation of paper currency notes by the US government, soon replaced by the US Notes.2


1928 $10 Gold Certificate1928 $10 Gold Certificate


 Alexander Hamilton has been featured on the $10 bill since 1928. These bills include: $10 Federal Reserve Notes (what we still use today), $10 Gold Certificates, and $10 Silver Certificates. Learn more about Hamilton on the ten dollar bill below. 

1880 $20 United States Note (Large)1880 $20 United States Note (Large)$20.00

 Beginning in 1869, Alexander Hamilton was portrayed on the $20 US Note. He would retain his space on the $20 bill until US notes stopped being printed in the 20th century. This example is from the 1880 series and shows a portrait of Hamilton on the left along with an allegorical depiction of Victory on the right. 3



1863 $50 Interest Bearing Note1863 $50 Interest Bearing Note

Alexander Hamilton has been featured on US Notes (1862-1869), Interest-Bearing Notes (1862-1864), Compound Interest Treasury Notes (1863-64), and Certificates of Indebtedness (1907), all in the $50 bill denomination. At left is an 1863 $50 One Year Interest Bearing Note, which were issued with vignettes of Alexander Hamilton and  a representation of Loyalty, whose right hand rests on the Bible and the US Constitution. 4

1864 $500 Interest Bearing Note1864 $500 Interest Bearing Note$500.00

The $500 Interest Bearing Note from 1864 depicts Alexander Hamilton in the center, George Washington at right, and cannon warfare at left. The Interest Bearing Notes paid five percent interest.


1918 $1000 Federal Reserve Note1918 $1000 Federal Reserve Note$1000.00

 The 1918 Series Federal Reserve Note featured Alexander Hamilton with a back vignette of an eagle clutching arrows, an olive branch, and the American flag in its claws. The $1000 bill is no longer a bill that is used in circulation.5 Alexander Hamilton was also featured on the $1000 Gold Certificate from 1870-1933. 


 It's All About The Hamiltons, Baby

♦ The depiction of Hamilton used for the $10 bill is based on the 1805 John Trumbull portrait of Hamilton.
1934 $10 bill - reverse side with US Treasury Building1934 $10 bill - reverse side with US Treasury Building
♦ The vignette on the back of the $10 bill features the US Treasury building. Prior to its design change in 2000, the original vignette of the Treasury building (done in 1927) had an automobile outside (a composite of existing cars at the time) and the American Security and Trust Company Building on the corner, which used to advertise itself as being "right on the money."6

1942 Special Issue Hawaii $10: HAWAII is overprinted on both sides and the seal and serial numbers are brown1942 Special Issue Hawaii $10: HAWAII is overprinted on both sides and the seal and serial numbers are brown♦ During World War II, altered special issue Hawaii and North Africa $10 bills were printed. In case of an invasion by Japan (in Hawaii) or seizure by enemy troops (in North Africa), those bills could be declared worthless.

2006 redesign of the $10 bill2006 redesign of the $10 bill♦ The latest $10 bill design was introduced into circulation in 2006 with a borderless portrait of Hamilton.

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