Roberts World Money

A blog for banknote and fun note collectors

The People behind the New Banknote Series of US State Dollars

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 rules/laws governing the people who he depicts on these beautiful new State dollars he is issuing. It turns out the regulation, and as such not to break copyright laws, is fairly straight forward (if anything with a copyright law can be).

The picture used on these banknotes have to be of people who have been dead for more than a hundred years or the picture/portrait has to be in the public domain. I have always wondered how sometimes on FUN notes like this they didn’t use a more obvious choice, now their decisions are making more sense. It is lucky that the depiction on the Massachusetts note is a picture of John F. Kennedy that happens to be in the public domain. This also goes for Jimmy Carter on the Georgia note. I think this is very fortuitous for not only Tom, but for us collectors of these notes and it seems 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) 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), but moved at the age of eight with her family to Concord, MA. She of course is well known for her book Little Women (and subsequent book) Little Men. There was a 5 cent postage stamp 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 was Governor of New Jersey from 1776 – 1790. He moved to Elizabethtown – now Elizabeth, NJ in 1770. He is also a signer of the United States Constitution. He, like Caesar Rodney, was also 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
Line Drawing Prints from the artist available soon at

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