It’s the little things that bother people. Like having too many pennies, wondering why the higher-valued dime is smaller than the nickel and why, for the love of Tubman, don’t we have a $25 bill?
The news this week that Harriet Tubman will be on the $20 bill (Andrew Jackson’s getting moved to the back) came along with this open letter from Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew that includes a curious idea tucked into the last sentence of the second paragraph:
“And others proposed unconventional ideas, such as creating a $25 bill.”
A $25 bill may be an unconventional idea, but isn’t that part of what keeps America moving forward? An expert on paper money isn’t optimistic about the idea:
“It would be such an unprecedented change that it just seems to me like it wouldn’t happen,” Chris Battaglino, owner of the website Paper Money Guide, tells Inverse. “It would be interesting, I’d like to see another denomination released, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”
Despite its impracticality, that hasn’t stopped people from speculating what this future might look like. Consider, for example, this list of 274 recommendations made by the public for people to be on the new $20. One of them is Tubman, leaving 273 options for the $25 (and maybe one of them could go on the back of bill, too.) There’s chemist Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman to study at MIT; and Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space; and Dr. Florence Sabin, the first woman to teach at Johns Hopkins University.
Beyond the actual bill, there’s its place in the larger American money system: The main reason the Treasury issues denominations the way it does is to minimize the number of bills or coins we need to carry around. Four $25 bills are easier to manage than five twenties.
The dedicated currency enthusiasts behind the website Coin Community took an informal poll and found that its members were in favor of keeping the $20.
The forum also noted that a $25 bill could kill off the $50 bill much like the quarter killed the half-dollar coin. Do we miss the half-dollar? Not really.