A polite brouhaha has broken out after the Treasury Department said it plans to put a woman on the $10 bill.
Bernanke argued for the $20 rather than the $10 due to Hamilton’s key role in developing the American financial system, in contrast with Jackson’s “poor” record as president.
But there’s another reason why the $20 bill might be a better fit for the historic redesign: $20s are far more popular.
In 2014, the Fed ordered the Treasury to produce just 627 million $10 notes in fiscal 2015, making it the third-least-requested currency, with only the $50 and the $2 being less popular. In contrast, 1.9 billion $20 notes were ordered, making it the most popular save for the $1.
And that doesn’t appear to be a fluke. $10 notes were also the third-least-requested for 2013 and 2014, while $20s were the third most. And a glance at the below chart provided by the Fed, showing $10 note orders in purple and $20 note orders in teal, shows that $10 notes are typically far less popular than 20-spots.
In fact, the initial campaign to put a female on an American currency note was focused on the $20 bill, due in part to the record of Jackson, whose treatment of American Indians is often referred to as genocidal.
The Treasury choose the $10 bill instead, due to the apparent need for a counterfeit-resistant redesign.
Which woman will be slated for placement on the note remains to be decided, though Harriet Tubman is generally considered to be the front-runner.