Most U.S. paper money features a portrait of a former President of the United States, but two bills currently issued by the U.S. government do not:
- Alexander Hamilton is pictured on the $10 bill. Alexander Hamilton was NOT a U.S. President, and the $10 bill is the lowest value paper money in the U.S. that does not feature a portrait of a past president. (Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington and was the driving force behind the creation of the U.S. banking system.)
- Benjamin Franklin is pictured on the $100 bill. The $100 bill is the highest value U.S. paper money being issued today that does not have a portrait of a U.S. president. (Actually, the $100 bill is currently the highest value paper money being issued at all in the United States.)
The five other paper money bills currently issued DO feature former presidents:
- Ulysses S. Grant is pictured on the $50 bill. Ulysses Grant was the 18th U.S. President, serving from 1869 to 1877. He was also the Commanding General of the Union forces in the U.S. Civil War, making him a hero around the country and propelling him into the presidency.
- Andrew Jackson is pictured on the $20 bill. Andrew Jackson was the 7th U.S. President, serving from 1829 to 1837.
- Abraham Lincoln is pictured on the $5 bill. Lincoln was the 16th U.S. President from 1861 until he was assassinated in 1865. Lincoln was President throughout the U.S. Civil War, and is perhaps the most famous of all U.S. Presidents other than George Washington.
- Thomas Jefferson is pictured on the $2 bill. Jefferson was the third U.S. President, serving from 1801 to 1809. While the $2 bill is still issued in the United States, it is fairly rare to see one in actual circulation.
- George Washington is pictured on the $1 bill. Washington was of course the first U.S. President, from 1789 to 1797, as well as being the major military hero of the American Revolution.
One Discontinued Bill Also Featured A Non-President
The paper bills listed above are the only denominations currently issued by the U.S. Government. However, in the past other, higher denomination bills were issued, and these bills are still legal tender that can be spent — though they are worth more as collectors’ items than their face value. One of these paper bills featured a non-U.S. President:
- Salmon P. Chase was pictured on the $10,000 bill, which was discontinued in 1969. Chase was the Secretary of the Treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s administration and was never a U.S. President. The $10,000 bill was the highest dollar value paper money to ever be publicly circulated.
Other discontinued denominations of U.S. paper money include:
- William McKinley was pictured on the $500 bill, which was last issued in 1969. (The last actual printing of the bill appears to have been in 1945.) McKinley was the 25th President of the United States, serving from 1897 until he was assassinated in 1901. (There were also earlier versions of the $500 bill with other individuals pictured.)
- Grover Cleveland was pictured on the $1000 bill, which was also last issued in 1969. Cleveland was the 22nd AND 24th president, serving from 1885 to 1889, and then again from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland is the only U.S. President to serve two non-consecutive terms. (Benjamin Harrison served as President in between Cleveland’s two terms. Harrison defeated Cleveland in the 1888 election, with Harrison winning in the Electoral College even though Cleveland had a higher number in the popular vote.)
- James Madison was pictured on the $5000 bill, also last issued in 1969. Madison was the fourth U.S. President, serving from 1809 to 1817.
- There was also a $100,000 bill that was never available to the public. Woodrow Wilson was pictured on this $100,000 bill, which was only used for transfers between U.S. Federal Reserve Banks. Wilson was the 28th President, serving from 1913 to 1921.
Author: Adam Jusko