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Penn Money

By Brian | March 28, 2007 | Share on Facebook

Another post of interest for my University of Pennsylvania readers (that’s two in two days – pretty cool, huh?). Anyway, not much to add here, other than to say, did anyone know that back in the 50′s, the United States minted coins with Ben Franklin’s picture on them?

For everyone else’s benefit, suffice to say that you can’t turn too many corners on Penn’s campus without running into a picture and/or statue of Ben Franklin, the University’s founder. Obviously, back in the 1950′s, this was even moreso the case…

(hat tip: Lileks)

Topics: Money Talk, University of Pennsylvania | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Penn Money”

  1. Jeff Porten says at April 1st, 2007 at 9:35 am :
    Okay, call me shocked that a Wharton grad knows so little numismatology. We have a few dozen of these in the family coin collection — if I’d known they were of interest, I’d have brought one to show and tell long ago.

    Had to look up the year they started minting them (1948), but I knew the year they stopped — 1963, when they became the Kennedy half dollar. That was just in time for the 1965 switch from silver to alloys, which means that nearly all pre-1965 coins from a quarter on up went out of circulation.

  2. Brian says at April 1st, 2007 at 11:03 am :
    Well, I knew that Kennedy took his place on the half dollar shortly after his death, I just didn’t know who came before him.

    I’d assume this would have made Ben Franklin the first non-president to appear on American currency. Since then, of course, we’ve had others (Susan B. Anthony, Sacajawea, Mercury…)

  3. Jeff Porten says at April 1st, 2007 at 9:59 pm :
    Well, you have to make a distinction between coinage and paper money. Paper has been all across the board — for a long while, the states, and even large banks, printed their own money. Take the kids to see the Smithsonian exhibit next time you’re in town.

    Anyway, according to the web site of the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco, both the Franklin $100 and the Chase $10,000 date back to 1914. Wikipedia says that Hamilton found his way to the tenner in 1929.

    In coins, you have all sorts of mythical non-presidents — Mercury dimes, Morgan dollars, buffalo nickels, standing and seated liberties all over the place. Reviewing the Coin Resource site, it looks like all presidential coinage was a 20th century innovation, and it looks like you’re right that Franklin was the first non-presidential live human to appear on a coin.


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