California Politicians on US Currency

Banner: 50 Dollar Bill


Every dead US President will be honored with an appearance on US currency through the “Presidential Dollar Coin Program.” But when else have people who appeared on the ballot in California appeared on American money?

For the purposes of this article, we’re counting folks who have served since California statehood (in 1850) and only looking at regularly circulating money and Federal Reserve Notes (and not the other certificates that have served as currency over the years)…

Bills & Coins

Abraham Lincoln is the leader. In addition to appearing on the one dollar coin in 2010, Lincoln currently appears on the Five Dollar bill and penny (1909-Present), as a young man on the “50 State Quarters” quarter for Illinois (2003), and as part of Mount Rushmore on the “50 State Quarters” quarter for South Dakota (2006).


Ulysses S. Grant was on a 2011 dollar coin and has appeared on the Fifty Dollar bill since 1914.

In denominations no longer in circulation, Grover Cleveland appeared on the $1000 bill issued 1928-1934, while William McKinley was on the $500 bill during that same period.

Serving as US Secretaries of the Treasury, William G. McAdoo‘s signature appeared on US paper currency between 1913-1918, and William E. Simon‘s between 1974-1977. McAdoo was later a US Senator from California. Simon was the father of 2002 Gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon.

Serving as Treasurer of the United States (the other signature on paper currency), Ivy Baker Priest‘s signature appeared on US paper currency between 1953-1961, while Rosario Marin‘s was there between 2001-2003. Priest was the California State Treasurer from 1967 to 1975. . Marin was a primary candidate for US Senate in 2004.


Dwight D. Eisenhower has appeared on two dollars; his Presidential Dollar Coin was issued in 2015 and he also appeared on the massive Eisenhower dollar (1971-1978) which is one of the most awesome coins ever minted.

John F. Kennedy appeared on a “Presidential $1 Coin” that was issued in 2015. Kennedy also currently appears on the half dollar coin (1964-Present).

Teddy Roosevelt appeared as part of Mount Rushmore on the “50 State Quarters” quarter for South Dakota.

Franklin D. Roosevelt also currently appears on the dime (1946-Present).

California’s 2016 U.S. Senate Race

Edward D. Baker

Just a quick thought…

With Senator Boxer retiring in 2016 and the race to replace her now definitely underway, I’ve been reminded of a quote delivered by E. D. Baker over the body of U.S. Senator David Broderick in 1859:

“Who now shall speak for California? – who be the interpreter of the wants of the Pacific coast?”


California Political History and The Lone Ranger (2013) movie

“Latham Cole” from The Lone Ranger (2013)

It has been more than two years since we wrote about Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the vampire Barnabas Collins in the movie “Dark Shadows”. Collins, as you may remember, was apparently named after a 1900s Assemblyman buried at the Sacramento City Cemetery.

It’s happened again.

In the Lone Ranger, a western movie set in 1869, the villain is a railroad tycoon named Latham Cole. It’s an interesting name, and may have been made by combining the names of two 1860s U.S. Senators from California (Milton S. Latham and Cornelius Cole). Latham served both as Governor in 1859-1860 and then as U.S. Senator 1860-1863, while Cole served in the U.S. Senate between 1869-1873.

  • FUN FACT ABOUT SENATOR COLE: His lifetime overlapped that of every US President between (but not including) George Washington and Bill Clinton.