You're not allowed to put Presidents on US $... Who do you choose?

Let’s imagine for a moment that the Centauri finally show up in orbit, and in a spate of uncharacteristically enigmatic minimalistic interventionism, make no changes other than to threaten to use their Mass drivers on Earth unless the United States chooses to replace the Presidents and politicians on paper money with non-political figures.

Who would you put on the bills?

Just tossing this out there for thought, not spending much time on it:

$1… Louis Armstrong
$5… Orville & Wilbur Wright
$10… Jonas Salk
$20… Harriet Tubman
$100… Mark Twain
Non-U.S. Dopers, feel free to replace the “U.S.” with your own country as you want to.

I’d keep Franklin on the $100. He looks good there.

Is he a politician?


$1 Hank Aaron

$2 (you forgot the 2) Bill Gates

$5 Liberty (as in Statue of…)

$10 Clarence Darrow

$20 Martin Luther King, Jr.

$50 (you forgot the 50) Georgia O’Keeffe

$1: Mark Twain
$2: Pete Seeger, why not
$5: Martin Luther King Jr.
$10: Neil Armstrong
$20: Let’s go with the poll and put Harriet Tubman on the $20
$50: Albert Einstein, our most valuable immigrant?
$100: I agree keep Franklin on the $100.

$1… All Apollo 11 astronauts
$5… MLK
$10… Douglas MacArthur
$20… Harriet Tubman
$100… Orville & Wilbur Wright


$1 Is a coin, and I’ll keep the loon.
$2 Is a coin, and I’ll keep the polar bear
$5 Wayne Gretzky (Arguably the best hockey player ever)
$10 Sir Alexander Fleming (Discoverer of penicillin as an antibiotic)
$20 Sir Frederick Banting (Discoverer of insulin as a treatment for diabetes)
$50 Tommy Douglas (Father of universal healthcare, and grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland)
$100 Terry Fox (Cancer patient whose name is synonymous with cancer fundraising worldwide)

Seriously? I would like to go back to using various depictions of Liberty/Miss Liberty like we did prior to 1909. For paper something like the Educational Series of notes.

Not as seriously? The cast and crew of the Bob and Tom Show.

Is Art Linkletter still on the $100,000 bill?

Love, love, LOVE the idea of Satchmo on the $1 bill.

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding on the $2.

Mark Twain on the $5.

Dr. Timothy Leary on the $10.

Eleanor Roosevelt on the $20.

Buster Keaton on the $50.

And, yeah let’s keep Ben Franklin on the $100.

I vote for stars, birds, geological phenomena, machines, abstract art.

'course, this is nice, too.

Sell it to the highest bidder. $1 bill= the new Ford, $5 bill= Mickey Mouse, and so on

$1: Statue of Liberty
$2: We take this opportunity to get rid of this useless note.
$5: MLK
$10: Norman Borlaug
$20: Apollo 11 Rocket (putting only the astronauts on the note seems to slight the effort of all the scientists and engineers)
$50: Frederick Douglass. Maybe Twain. Or Louis Armstrong. Hell, I don’t know. When was the last time you saw a 50 anyway?
$100: Lewis and Clark

This is a tough exercise. Trying to pick six Presidents out of 44 is easier than six people/images out of a vast number of iconic nonpolitical figures. I could easily be swayed from any of my picks.

Just a reminder: Not only was Franklin not a President, but Hamilton ($10 bill) wasn’t either (shot in a duel by Aaron Burr)…

I would still specify that the person absolutely **must **be deceased. And have been dead for at least a generation. Having living (and recently living) people’s images on current documents reeks of forced idolatry.

But both were politicians, which the OP has also excluded.

Franklin was so much more than a politician. I will nominate him to keep his place as the first great American Scientist/Inventor, leading writer and publisher, self-made businessman and generally the most world-famous colonial American.

Just have an alternate in case the Centauri disagree - it’s not like there aren’t plenty of accomplished people to choose from.

So I also thought about Edgar Allen Poe - what do folks think of him?

Any visual artist suggestions other than Georgia O’Keefe? (Thx Procrustus)

Any sports figures? Both Procrustus and Leaffan suggested a sports figure…

I would put a nude picture of Eleanor Roosevelt on the $1 to encourage the move to a cashless economy.

For all the other denominations, have a lottery where the entrance fee is the same as the denomination - $5 for the fiver, $10 for the ten, etc. Winner gets to pick for that denomination for bills printed over the next year. Enter as often as you like.

I am too cheap to enter, but if I won by accident or something -

$5 - Sally Ride
$10 - Thomas Edison
$20 - Whoever is on the Ten Most Wanted list, so his face would be familiar to everyone and he would be arrested sooner
$50 - public service announcements to spay or neuter your pet
$100 - Rin Tin Tin


Edgar Allan Poe is famous for going through cycles in terms of literary respect. His stock has been flat for a long time now, maybe 60 years. My daughter went through Stuyvesant High, Yale, and the University of Chicago without reading “Annabel Lee,” let alone any of the tales – either assigned or for funsies. For a writer of that era, Melville or Hawthorne would be an easier sell.

I thought about visual artists, but had a tough time coming up with one of the proper stature. My first pick would be Augustus St. Gaudens, but he was born in Ireland.

$1 - The Monopoly guy.
$5 - The Monopoly guy.
$10 - The Monopoly guy.
$20 - The Monopoly guy.
$50 - The Monopoly guy.
$100 - Keanu Reeves.

Lewis & Clark, Edison, Bell, Neil Armstrong, von Neumann, Bardeen, Borlaug, Salk & Sabin, and many others come to mind as good non-politician candidates.

I like the way you think.

$1 - Martin Luther King, Jr
$5 - Jonas Salk
$10 - Paul Newman
$20 - Harriet Tubman
$50 - Andrew Carnegie
$100 - Keanu Reeves (even though he’s Canadian)

E: $500 - Charles A. Cutter