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Who Was the First Woman Depicted on Currency?

The honor belongs to Arsinoe II, a Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, who appeared on a coin in the third century B.C., says Ellen Feingold, curator of the National Numismatic Collection. Others have included:

  • Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 16th century
  • Indira Gandhi in the 1980s
  • Maria Montessori in the 1990s, and
  • Eva Perón and Marie Curie in this decade

Women have been far less commonly depicted on US. currency. The full roster:

  • Pocahontas and Martha Washington appeared on bills in the 19th century;
  • Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea appeared on dollar coins beginning in 1979 and 2000, respectively
  • and Helen Keller appeared on a quarter issued in 2003

(Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

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