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US Plans to Put Portrait of Historic Woman on Currency

FILE - Thomas Ferguson, then-Director for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, holds a $10 note.

The U.S. $10 bill will feature the portrait of a notable U.S. woman by 2020.

The new image will replace that of Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury Secretary, whose portrait has graced the $10 bill since the late 1920s. The redesigned currency will debut in time for the 100th anniversary of the formal ratification of the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced the plans for the new redesign Wednesday. Lew said the Treasury Department will launch a social media campaign dubbed "The New 10" to solicit ideas on whose portrait should be chosen for the new bill, along with a series of public meetings. He will reveal his decision sometime this year.

A woman's portrait has not been printed on U.S. paper money since 1896, when Martha Washington, the wife of the first U.S. president, was shown on a one dollar silver certificate.

Wednesday's announcement follows an online campaign, "Women on 20s," which had a similar goal for the $20 bill that currently features the portrait of Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president. A majority of voters selected Harriet Tubman, a black woman and escaped slave who led thousands of other slaves to freedom in the years before the Civil War, to replace Jackson on the currency.

Treasury Secretary Lew said the $10 bill was selected because it was the next paper currency scheduled to be redesigned. In addition to the new portrait, the updated bill will have new security features that will make it harder to counterfeit.

He said Alexander Hamilton's image will remain on the $10 bill in some form after the redesign.

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