10 Pictures You Never Knew People Had in Their Wallets

UPDATE: This article, originally published at 3:56 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, 2015, has been updated with statistics from the Federal Reserve.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Whoever joins Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill won't be the first woman to have her likeness on American currency, but she may become the best known: There are about 2 billion of the bills in circulation.

While the $20 bill is more common -- there are about 8 billion of them in use, according to the Federal Reserve System -- the $10 bill is still seen more often than either the dollar coin featuring women's suffragist Susan B. Anthony in the late 1970s or a slightly larger gold-colored successor featuring Sacagawea, a Native American remembered for her role in the exploration of the western U.S., in 2000.

Often referred to as a "Hamilton," the $10 bill ranks fifth among paper currencies by volume, ahead of the $50 bill, at 1.5 billion, and the $2 bill, at 1.1 billion. The most popular remains the $1 bill, at 11 billion, followed by the $100 bill, at 10.1 billion.

"Currency is redesigned to prevent current and potential security threats to currency notes," said U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, who oversees coin and currency production. "As we continue to incorporate the most advanced security features into our currency design, we'd also like to ensure that the next currency design represents the values of democracy and diversity on which this country was founded."

The Department of the Treasury is giving the public a chance to share ideas for its design, including who should join Hamilton, through social media. You can also vote for one of three popular contenders in a poll conducted by TheStreet here (Eleanor Roosevelet is leading so far, with 61%). The new note is expected to be released into circulation in 2020.

In the meantime, here's a look at some of the forgotten faces, including three women, who've appeared on U.S. legal tender.


1. Martha Washington

The first-ever first lady, Martha Washington is also the only real woman (that is, she was a real person) to appear on an American banknote. This $1 note was issued in 1886 and is part of a series of notes that were redeemable in silver dollars until the 1960s. 

While she has never appeared on any circulating coin, the U.S. Mint used her likeliness in 2007 on one of an ongoing series of $10 gold coins honoring first spouses. Her portrait has also been used on coins struck to test new metal compositions, but those are rarely seen outside the mint.

The Democrat's electoral successes came in part from his ability to court the support of pro-business Democrats and Republicans who opposed high tariffs and championed fiscal conservatism. 

8. John Marshall

The former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Marshall served in the post between 1801 and 1835. Perhaps the most influential ruling his court made was that in Marbury v. Madison, the case which established the precedent for the high court to strike down acts of Congress.

9. James Madison

The fourth president hasn't popped up much on American currency outside of this 1934 $5,000 bill. Working with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, he authored "The Federalist Papers." Later, during his presidency, he led the U.S. during the War of 1812 against Great Britain.


10. Chief Running Antelope

One of the only Native Americans depicted on American paper money, Running Antelope was chief of the Hunkpapa, a group of the Lakota tribe. During the Plains Indian Wars in the second half of the 1800s, he served as an adviser to Sitting Bull, another chief who led the resistance movement against the United States government.

Records don't list an exact date of death for Running Antelope, but this note was issued in 1899, no more than three years afterward.

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