7 Women Who Rocked Currency

It’s no longer all about the Hamiltons, baby. The U.S. Treasury is looking for a few good women to replace Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill, which is up for a redesign that’s likely to enter circulation around 2020. (Hamilton fans may be encouraged by the fact that he’s not going away—the forefather of the U.S. Treasury may appear elsewhere on the $10 bill, or on another piece of currency.)  

The call for a female face on the $10 follows a growing movement to get a lady other than Lady Liberty on U.S. paper currency. The popular online campaign Women on 20s circulated an online petition in 2015 to oust Andrew Jackson from the $20 and replace him with abolitionist Harriet Tubman in time for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America in 2020. But the Treasury says the $10 bill was first in line for a redesign, a move planned back in 2013. 

Now that modern-day Americans are likely to soon see a female face on their paper money, it seems like a historic moment. But there have been many women on currency, U.S. or otherwise, before it. Here are a few women of (bank)note who made history.

1. Fulvia Flacca Bambula

The calculating and politically shrewd third wife of Mark Antony—she basically ran things when he was off gallivanting with Cleopatra (a.k.a. solidifying the Eastern part of the Roman Empire) after Julius Caesar’s assassination—is widely regarded as the first non-royal to appear on any kind of currency. Her face was on a Roman coin in the 40s BC, depicted on it as a goddess of victory for leading her husband’s forces in a civil war in Rome against his rival, Octavian. Also at the time, it was common to put likenesses of rulers’ family members on coins.

2. Cleopatra VII

The legendary Queen of Egypt is the first undeniable female ruler to appear on a coin. A bronze Egyptian coin dating back to 48 BC depicts the ruler with her son and co-ruler, Ptolemy Caesar (a.k.a. Caesarion). She also appeared on a silver coin from 32 BC with then-husband Mark Antony. One of those coins surfaced in 2007 and kind of upended the universe—the coin depicted the “beautiful” Cleopatra as more troll-like than historians and Hollywood had us believing. That notwithstanding, Cleopatra unwittingly launched the trend of putting female leaders—queens, presidents, prime ministers, and other political leaders—on currency. 

3. Elizabeth I

Henry VIII left his daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I a rough economy when they inherited the throne in 1553 and 1558, respectively. The value of British coin was in the toilet after the king’s extravagance forced him to use copper to mint them. But the two queens deftly turned it around, with Mary restoring gold purity standards and Elizabeth restoring silver and removing the old coins from circulation. And as you would expect from monarchs, they stamped the coins with their own faces—Mary occasionally with her husband, and Elizabeth by herself. Several other female monarchs followed suit as the sole human feature on the coin, like Anne, Maria Theresa of Austria, and Catherine II of Russia.

4. Pocahontas

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Native American woman who forged a bond with some of the earliest European settlers in Virginia in the 17th century was the first woman ever to be featured on U.S. currency. She was part of a tableau on the $20 bank note in 1865 (the bottom part of the image above). 

5. Martha Washington

Manning Garrett, Manifest Auctions

America’s first First Lady was the first woman to appear on the front of U.S. paper money in portrait form. Her likeness graced the $1 silver certificate from 1886 to 1896. She was thrown to the back of the certificate in 1896, canned entirely in 1899, and was eventually replaced by her husband, George, whose closed mouth smirk remains on today’s $1 bill. 

6. Susan B. Anthony

The pioneer of American women’s suffrage was the first woman to have her likeness imprinted on a circulating coin, in a series that ran from 1979 to 1981. (The first woman ever to grace a U.S. commemorative coin was Queen Isabella of Spain in 1893 for the Columbian Exposition. Who pushed for that? Susan B. Anthony, of course.) Today, there are two women on circulating coins—Helen Keller’s likeness graces the back of the Alabama quarter (issued in 2003) and Sacagawea headlines the dollar coin (issued in 1999). 

7. Queen Elizabeth II

QEII definitely wins the popularity contest in the currency world. She holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for most currencies featuring the same individual, appearing on currency in 35 different countries since she ascended the throne in 1953. That includes the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica and Australia, among others. In fact, one can see her aging over the years just by looking at the various bills with her face on them. Queen Victoria comes in a distant second place, appearing on coinage in 21 countries. King George V comes in third with his face on 19.

BONUS: The Newest Members of the “Curren-She” Club

This exclusive (unofficial) club of women who have appeared on currency counts members by the dozens, and already includes the likes (in more modern times) of Syria’s Queen Zenobia, former Philippines President Corazon Aquino, Eva Peron of Argentina, Frida Kahlo of Mexico, and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Recent additions to the club have been women who are known more for their contributions outside of the political arena—the UK plans to add Jane Austen to the £10 note in 2017, Greta Garbo, Birgit Nilsson and Astrid Lindgren are set to appear this year on the Swedish 100 krona, 500 krona, and 20 krona respectively, and Israel added poets Rachel Bluwstein and Leah Goldberg to the 20 shekel note and the 100 shekel note, respectively. 

As for who will join this club from the United States in 2020, there are really only two criteria: the woman featured has to be deceased (that’s per tradition dating back to the Revolution, and now federal law), and she has to “be iconic and have made a significant contribution to—or impact on—protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded.” 

Live Smarter
Here's How Much Money You Should Have Saved at Every Phase of Life

It's hard to make saving for retirement a priority when you just started building a career or a family. But if you don't plan on working well into old age, starting on your retirement fund early is essential. Not sure where to begin? CNBC recently spoke to a money expert from Intuit and shared the savings goals you should be striving toward in each phase of life.

When you're in your twenties and just getting established in your chosen field, you ideally should be setting aside a quarter of your paycheck. Of course, this isn't a possibility for every 20-something living off entry-level wages and struggling with student loan debt. If the 25 percent mark isn't feasible for you right now, determine a percentage that is. When you're just starting out, how much you're saving is less important than the fact that you're saving at all.

After sticking to this plan, hopefully you'll have saved up the equivalent of your annual salary by age 30. (So if you make $65,000 a year, you'll have $65,000 in the bank.) By 40, this nest egg should grow to three times your salary. You should have five times saved by age 50, and seven times set aside by age 60.

When you're finally ready to retire around age 67, if you've saved consistently, you'll have 10 times what your annual salary was to support you in your later years. That may seem like an overwhelming goal, but keep in mind that doesn't just include the money you transferred to a regular savings account. Your retirement fund is the sum of your IRA and 401(k), including any matching funds you received from your employer. And the earlier you started saving, the more compound interest you will have accrued by retirement age.

Even if you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, there's still room in your life to develop smart money habits. Here are some tips you can use to start building a retirement account today.

[h/t CNBC]

Disney/Marvel Studios
10 Highest Grossing Movie Franchises of All Time
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Though it has yet to even open in U.S. theaters, box office analysts are already predicting that Black Panther is going to devour President's Day weekend, with an anticipated $170 million in ticket sales on the line. While it’s still got a ways to go to make the more than $1.51 billion that the original The Avengers film earned in 2012, this latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will only ensure the franchise's dominance of Hollywood's pockets well into 2018 and beyond. Here are the 10 highest grossing movie franchises of all time, based on worldwide box office.


Worldwide Gross: $13,508,505,227

Though it seems a bit unfair, the whole of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—including The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, and Guardians of the Galaxy movies—is officially a single franchise in Hollywood's eyes. Which makes it a tough one to beat, with 18 (and counting) films in the past 10 years, led (financially-speaking) by The Avengers ($1,519,479,547), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1,408,218,722), and Captain America: Civil War ($1,153,304,495).


Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Jonathan Olley, Lucasfilm

Worldwide Gross: $8,926,689,927

Though it's been more than 40 years since the original Star Wars film hit theaters and entranced moviegoers, since Disney purchased the franchise in 2012, they've been making up for lost time with new entries in the original space opera, plus a bunch of standalone series—including a recently announced new one courtesy of Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. While it may take the Mouse House a couple of years to match Marvel's quantity of films, at the rate they're cranking them out, we probably won't have too long to wait.


Worldwide Gross: $8,532,684,345

The big-screen incarnation of J. K. Rowling’s boy wizard has proven to be just as profitable as the book version. Since 2001, nine movie adaptations have been released, beginning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. While nearly all of them—including 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them—have approached the $1 billion mark, 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II brought in the biggest profit, with a worldwide take of $1,341,511,219. With two more Fantastic Beasts movies on the way in the next two years, this box office behemoth shows no signs of slowing down.


Daniel Craig stars at James Bond in 'Spectre' (2015)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions

Worldwide Gross: $7,077,929,291

While "Who will play the next James Bond?" is a question as old as this movie franchise itself, one thing that's never in question is 007's ability to attract an audience—and he only seems to be getting better with age. Bond's Daniel Craig era has seen some of its most critically acclaimed, and profitable, entries in the series, which kicked off in 1963 with Dr. No. But the franchise’s high position on this list is largely thanks to 2012’s Skyfall, which earned $1,110,526,981 around the world.


Worldwide Gross: $5,895,804,182

First, it’s important to note that Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth franchise includes not just The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but all three of The Hobbit movies as well. While the former series might be the more critically acclaimed of the two, when all is said and done, both series contributed to the franchise’s position here: Among the six films, 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1,141,403,341) and 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($1,017,003,568) are the two biggest moneymakers.


Worldwide Gross: $5,139,434,105

It’s possible that even the producers of the Fast and the Furious series themselves are a little surprised by just how popular the franchise has become, with eight adrenaline-fueled films that seem to grow more popular with each entry. While the first film in the series, 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, made a respectable $206,512,310, 2017's The Fate of the Furious made nearly six times that amount—a grand total of $1,237,466,026. So it should come as no surprise that two more are already in the works.

7. X-MEN

Stephen Merchant and Hugh Jackman in 'Logan' (2017)
Ben Rothstein - © 2017 Marvel. TM and © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Worldwide Gross: $5,016,911,347

Though the X-Men are a Marvel creation, they're treated as their very own (mutant) entity in the box office world. Which is particularly impressive when you consider that the franchise's 10 films (and counting) have generated enough dough on their own to compete at the same level as their cinematic parent. While 2017's Logan made an impressive $615,577,068 at the box office—and managed to be that rare comic book movie that scored an Oscar nomination for its script—it's Ryan Reynolds's Deadpool that's leading this series in box office dollars, with a worldwide gross of $801,029,249 on the first movie. Given the excitement that's already surrounding this May's sequel, expect that number to climb even higher.


Worldwide Gross: $4,858,770,389

Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man kicked off a new era in comic book moviemaking with its audience-friendly mix of action, humor, and just a little camp. His final film for the series, Spider-Man 3, earned the most money of the bunch, with a box office total of $894,860,230. Two reboots later, audiences don't seem to be tiring of the ever-changing web-slinger; 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming took in a not-too-shabby $880,206,511 (and a sequel is already in production for 2019).


© TM & DC Comics/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Worldwide Gross: $4,572,000,197

Though the final tally above represents more than a quarter-century of Batman movies—going back to Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s 1989 original and spanning the less memorable Val Kilmer and George Clooney years—the real earnings in this franchise have come from Christopher Nolan’s reboots. In fact, 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises earned $1,084,439,099 on its own, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the franchise's entire haul. And in case you're wondering: yes, 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is officially part of the franchise.


Worldwide Gross: $4,505,013,091

First it was a Disney theme park ride, then it was a box office smash success and one of the few times that Johnny Depp agreed to make a truly “commercial” film. But over the course of nearly 15 years, from 2003 to 2017, the swashbuckling series has managed to plunder more than $4.5 billion in ticket sales—even if its most recent entry, 2017's Dead Man Tell No Tales, was one of its least impressive earners with (a still-impressive) $794,758,876.

All figures courtesy of The Numbers.


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