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View Full Version : Why is Ben Franklin on the $100 bill when he wasn't a President?


Cholo
10-01-2002, 10:44 PM
Why was this decided to be a good idea way back when? I'm just curious. I know he's considered a major historical US figure but I would have thought that back in the day, the US mint would only have only US Presidents on them.

I know Sacajawea (whatever her name is) and Susan B. Anthony have been dipicted on recent coins...but that's a different story being that the US has been infected with political correctness for a couple of decades.

I'd like to know when did ol' Ben get the nod and why?

Why not Thomas Edison? or maybe Elvis...he was on pretty good terms with Nixon wasn't he?

:p

ScoobyTX
10-01-2002, 11:14 PM
Alexander Hamilton was never president- he's on the sawbuck.

There have been many non-presidents on coins & bills over the years. See this list (http://pub.umich.edu/daily/1998/dec/12-03-98/arts/arts2.html).

Tripler
10-01-2002, 11:23 PM
How about Sackajawea, who's on the "Golden Dollar"?

Hell, she wasn't even political!

Tripler
I'll be on a coin someday: The 'Trip'.

Doug Bowe
10-02-2002, 01:34 AM
Ben is a very popular Founding Father.

Heck, let's look at 1841.
Around that time there were two popular founding fathers...Franklin and Washington. Those were pretty much the only figures that might end up on a brand new idea...the postage stamp. Who would end up on a stamp first?

Ben won over Geo. Washington.

By the way, Alex. Hamilton wasn't a prez, either. He's on stuff.

Duckster
10-02-2002, 01:43 AM
See Selection of Portraits and Designs Appearing on Paper Currency (http://moneyfactory.com/document.cfm/18/118) from the source, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.

KenP
10-02-2002, 05:32 AM
I have an old dollar bill that has a portraits of George Washington on the left and Martha Washington on the right. I would guess that Martha is the only first lady to appear on U.S. currency.

Weeks
10-02-2002, 06:01 AM
How about Sackajawea, who's on the "Golden Dollar"?


Uh-oh, I told my kids that was Roseanne Barr! How was I supposed to know?

Wumpus
10-02-2002, 07:53 AM
You mean that Indian who used to be on the nickel *wasn't* a president? (Or that buffalo, for that matter.)

I guess I should have paid more attention in school.

Horatio Hellpop
10-02-2002, 08:02 AM
Benjamin Franklin was president of Pennsylvania (when such an office existed).

And let's not forget Salman P. Chase, on bills so big you and I will never see them.

plnnr
10-02-2002, 08:07 AM
The fact that Frankling ws the first Postmaster General may have had something to do with him showing up on the stamp vs. George Washington.

JRDelirious
10-02-2002, 08:30 AM
Yep, Franklin having been Postmaster General gave him a leg up inside the Post Office ;)

But it is true that Ben Franklin was for the longest time one of the most celebrated of the Founders. In no small measure, it helped that due to his age, he did not live long enough after independence to become as entangled in enemy-making partisan controversies as Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, etc. AND had an impressive list of pre-independence achievements to his own name. He was also the first American political figure who was a "celebrity" abroad, not a small feat.

In any case, Duckster has linked to the source.

kunilou
10-02-2002, 09:47 AM
Ben Franklin was also on the half-dollar for many years, so it's not a case of political correctness to put a non-president on coins.

In fact, although I have no reference material handy, I will bet that since the U.S. began issuing national currency (coins or bills), they have featured non-presidents (including Miss Liberty) more than presidents on more denominations for more years.

AWB
10-02-2002, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by Krokodil
And let's not forget Salman P. Chase, on bills so big you and I will never see them.

IIRC, Chase was on the $100,000 bill.

Sadly, they no longer make bills over $100. I believe this was to prevent ease of cash transactions over $10,000, making drug transactions and money laundering more difficult.

I think it's illegal to own a high-denomination US bill, somehow relating to the above.

ScoobyTX
10-02-2002, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by Krokodil
And let's not forget Salman P. Chase, on bills so big you and I will never see them.
Chase is on the $10,000 bill. I've seen a hundred of them- Binnion's Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Vegas has a display of $1 million dollars- 100 $100 bills.

ftg
10-02-2002, 04:41 PM
If you haven't inferred it already, putting US Presidents on coins and currency is a recent phenomenon. A large fraction of the coins I used as a (very wee) kid did not have a US President on them. I used to collect Franklin half dollars, my mother Liberty silver dollars. There is no rule, guideline, etc. of any type that requires only presidents. The US Mint is free to put SBA, Sacajewea, Lady Liberty, Columbia, etc. on coins and paper money.

ScoobyTX
10-02-2002, 06:12 PM
Arggg... make that 100 $10,000 bills= $1,000,000

Lumpy
10-02-2002, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by Cholo
but I would have thought that back in the day, the US mint would only have only US Presidents on them.

I'd like to know when did ol' Ben get the nod and why?Maybe because he was the head of the Illuminati at the time? :p

curwin
10-03-2002, 07:23 AM
Originally posted by ScoobyTX

Chase is on the $10,000 bill. I've seen a hundred of them- Binnion's Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Vegas has a display of $1 million dollars- 100 $100 bills.

That's interesting based on what the previous posters indicated. That a) the $10,000 bills are no longer legal currency, and b)that the change was made a while ago. That means that back "then" when a million dollars was quite a bit of money, this casino decided that the tourist value of seeing the $10,000 bills was worth more than simply depositing them in the bank before they became invalid.

yanx4ever
10-03-2002, 09:48 AM
Just thought I'd pose this question: If you could make a change in the people appearing on currency and/or coins, what change would you make?

Personally, I don't think Andrew Jackson was a great enough president to deserve a spot on currency. I'd replace him with Martin Luther King.

For coins, although nobody uses fifty cent pieces anymore, I don't believe JFK really merits a place on a coin. I'd give that spot to Einstein.

ScoobyTX
10-03-2002, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by curwin
That a) the $10,000 bills are no longer legal currency, and b)that the change was made a while ago.
The $10,000 bill is still legal tender, but it has been withdrawn from circulation. If a bank comes across anything over a $100 bill, it gets sent on to the Fed to be taken care of (destroyed?). I'm sure it will also get a lot of attention.

handy
10-03-2002, 10:15 AM
"If you could make a change in the people appearing on currency and/or coins, what change would you make? "

Give them a hair cut.

burundi
10-03-2002, 10:50 AM
Cholo, Susan B. Anthony worked for decades to enfranchise American citizens. She fought to correct major societal injustices (her views on race and class notwithstanding). Anthony is a worthy American hero, and her inclusion on currency can't just be dismissed as "political correctness."

KGS
10-03-2002, 11:29 AM
I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned the one requirement for appearing on currency, or postage stamps -- you have to be dead. (I think this is more tradition than law.)

In fact, "dead presidents" is a common slang term for moolah. I remember a bank robbery movie called Dead Presidents, which I knew was going to suck when the opening credits appeared over a close-up of the $100 bill -- with Ben Franklin on the face, who obviously was never President.

Hometownboy
10-03-2002, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by ScoobyTX

The $10,000 bill is still legal tender, but it has been withdrawn from circulation. If a bank comes across anything over a $100 bill, it gets sent on to the Fed to be taken care of (destroyed?). I'm sure it will also get a lot of attention.

Hint: If you should happen to work for a bank and receive a $10,000 bill, it would be worth your while to take out a loan and buy it at face value from the bank. Here on eBay (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1385837401) is a nice picture of a $10K up for auction. As I write this, there have been 10 bids, the price is over $31,000 and the reserve has not yet been met

Some years back I knew a local bank manager who had done this with a $500 bill and nearly doubled his money.

Myron Van Horowitzski
10-03-2002, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by handy
"If you could make a change in the people appearing on currency and/or coins, what change would you make? "

Give them a hair cut.

Well, the US Treasury Dept. DID give them all facelifts and hair plugs on the new bills.

Ethilrist
10-03-2002, 02:41 PM
Then there are those indian fellows on the pennies and nickels...

Sampiro
10-03-2002, 06:00 PM
I think the reason Sacagawea was chosen for the coin was because of the Information Age. She is commonly considered the first Search Injun.

(I'll duck from the tomatoes now.)

manhattan
10-03-2002, 06:59 PM
Ewwwww, that's baaaad.

Is there a General Question on the table here?

Ukulele Ike
10-03-2002, 08:59 PM
Doubt it. I'd throw it to MPSIMS if I wuz you.


{obligatory Firesign Theater quote follows, in a deep voice}

Benjamin Franklin...the only President of the United States....who was never...President of the United States...

samclem
10-03-2002, 10:17 PM
For all those Dopers who have been to Vegas and seen the Million Dollar Display of $10,000. banknotes.

Guess what!

It ain'[t there any more. It got sold.

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