The people behind (well actually on front of) the New Series of US State Dollars

I thought it was interesting to find out from Tom Stebbins the laws governing the people he depicts on these beautiful new State dollars he is issuing. It turns out the regulations, are fairly straight forward, if anything in copyright law can be.

The picture used on these banknotes have to be of people who have died more than a hundred years ago or the picture/portrait has to be in the public domain. I always wondered how sometimes on FUN notes like this they didn’t use a more obvious choice, but now their decisions make more sense. It is fortunate that the depiction on the Massachusetts note is a portrait of John F. Kennedy that happens to be in the public domain. This also goes for Jimmy Carter on the Georgia note. This is fortuitous for not only Tom, but for collectors as well, as it is hard to imagine anyone else on these notes.

Anyway, going back to my early intent for this blog, I am going to write over the next few weeks a little piece about each person depicted on each State note – starting in order of the note issue, which coincides with the succession to the Union.

By the way, these blogs will not be copyrighted, and there is no fees associated with them being a wonderful sleep aid.

State #1 – Delaware – Caesar Rodney
October 7, 1728 – June 26, 1784
A lawyer and politician from St. John’s Neck in East Dover Hundred (Kent County), he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of Delaware for most of the American Revolution.There is a statue of him in Rodney Square – which I assume is outside the State Capital.

Delaware $50 Dollar Fun Note - available at
Delaware $50 Dollar Fun Note – available at

State #2 – Pennsylvania – Louisa Mary Alcott
November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888
An author born in Gemantown (now part of Philladelpia), she moved at age eight with her family to Concord, MA. She of course is well known for her book Little Women and subsequent book, Little Men. A five cent postage stamp was issued in 1940 honoring her life and works.

Pennsylvania $50 fun
Pennsylvania $50 fun note

State #3 – New Jersey – William Livingston
November 30, 1723 – July 25, 1790
He was actually born in Albany, New York, but moved to Elizabethtown, now Elizabeth New Jersey in 1770 and was governor of New Jersey from 1776 – 1790. He was a signer of the United States Constitution. Like Caesar Rodney, he was both a lawyer and politician. He is also well known for writing a long pastoral poem entitled, “Philosophic Solitude, or the Choice of a Rural Life.

New Jersey $50 fun
New Jersey $50 fun note

I hope this is of interest and, to me, it shows the work and research that goes into creating these notes, not to mention (but I will anyway) the actual work that goes into the drawings, as Tom hand draws all the depictions on these notes. However, that is a subject for another day (well month probably) and something that I am working on with Tom is to sell his signed original (and some prints) line drawings of these famous people (they are incredible, as I got to see them at the FUN show) so watch this space and hopefully I should have these for sale on my website soon.

Line Drawing Prints from the artist available soon at
Louisa May Alcott – Line drawing prints from the artist available soon at