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.” 

Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.
Pop Culture
What Would It Cost to Operate a Real Jurassic Park?
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.

As the Jurassic Park franchise has demonstrated, trapping prehistoric monsters on an island with bite-sized tourists may not be the smartest idea (record-breaking box office numbers aside). On top of the safety concerns, the cost of running a Jurassic Park would raise its own set of pretty pricey issues. Energy supplier E.ON recently collaborated with physicists from Imperial College London to calculate how much energy the fictional attraction would eat up in the real world.

The infographic below borrows elements that appear in both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. One of the most costly features in the park would be the aquarium for holding the massive marine reptiles. To keep the water heated and hospitable year-round, the park would need to pay an energy bill of close to $3 million a year.

Maintaining a pterosaur aviary would be an even more expensive endeavor. To come up with this cost, the researchers looked at the yearly amount of energy consumed by the Eden Project, a massive biome complex in the UK. Using that data, they concluded that a structure built to hold winged creatures bigger than any bird alive today would add up to $6.6 million a year in energy costs.

Other facilities they envisioned for the island include an egg incubator, embryo fridge, hotel, and emergency bunker. And of course, there would be electric fences running 24/7 to keep the genetic attractions separated from park guests. In total, the physicists estimated that the park would use 455 million kilowatt hours a year, or the equivalent of 30,000 average homes. That annual energy bill comes out to roughly $63 million.

Keep in mind that energy would still only make up one part of Jurassic Park's hypothetical budget—factoring in money for lawsuits would be a whole different story.

Map of dinosaur park.
Live Smarter
Expedia Just Made Its Vacation Bundle Deal a Lot More Convenient

Saving money by booking your hotel and flight together sounds like a no-brainer—until it actually comes time to do it. Picking the right accommodations for a trip requires a lot of research, and if you're in a rush to do it at the same time that you're comparing airfares, you may end up stuck with a choice you regret. Now, Expedia is taking the stress out of its vacation bundle offer by letting customers book flights and accommodations separately. As Travel + Leisure reports, customers can take advantage of the deal as long as they choose a hotel sometime between booking a flight (or rental car) and their first day of vacation.

Previously, Expedia customers looking to save hundreds by bundling had to purchase their plane tickets and reserve hotel rooms at the same time. Not only does that require a lot of planning in a short timeframe, but it also requires you to pay a significant chunk of your vacation budget up front. And while international flights are cheapest when booked months in advance, the same can't always be said for hotels, which sometimes show their best prices at the last minute.

Expedia's update relieves a lot of the pressure from the decision-making process. When users book their flight, they will now see an option labeled “Expedia Add-On Advantage.” If they also plan to find their hotel through Expedia, they can select the offer and reap the savings, even if they don't book it immediately. According to the company, customers can save up to 43 percent on hotel prices as long as they book a room before their flight leaves.

Gearing up for your next vacation? If you want to travel on a budget this summer—or any time of year—we suggest following these tips.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]


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