George Washington on Coins and Currency

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About the Book

George Washington is the most popular subject on coins, medals, tokens, paper money and postage stamps in America. Attempts to eliminate one-dollar bills from circulation, replacing them with coins, have been unsuccessful. Americans’ reluctance to part with their “Georges” are beyond rational considerations but tap into deep-felt emotions. To discard one-dollar bills means discarding the metaphorical Father of His Country.
Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, said that monetary tokens were “vehicles of useful impressions.” This numismatic history of George Washington traces the persistence of his image on American currency. These images are mostly from the late 18th-century. This book also offers a close look at the pictorial tradition in which these images are rooted.

About the Author(s)

Heinz Tschachler is a former professor of English and American studies at Alpen-Adria-University in Klagenfurt, Austria. He is the author of numerous books.

Bibliographic Details

Heinz Tschachler
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8110-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4034-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue: “Americans for George” 1
Part I. Vehicles of Useful Impressions 13
1. The Father of His Country and America’s Money 15
2. The Mark of the Prince 30
3. Constitutional Prohibitions and the Era of Private Banking 41
Part II. The Antebellum Period and the Civil War 57
4. The Cult of Antiquity 59
5. George Washington, Gallant Revolutionary 68
6. Ornamenting the Façade of Hell 86
Part III. From the End of the Civil War through the 1920s 93
7. The Only True American Contribution to the Arts 95
8. National Myths 110
9. Value and the Paternal Image 120
Part IV. A More Permanent Familiarity 131
10. Patriotic Extravaganzas 132
11. Dollar Bill Y’all 140
12. Money and Faith 151
Epilogue: “Where’s George?” 166
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 223
Index 229