Only one First Lady has ever been featured on U.S. currency.

  • Martha and George Washington
Martha and George Washington
Credit: Archive Images/ Alamy Stock Photo

We tend to associate the faces on U.S. currency with Presidents, and with good reason: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson are just a few of the heads of state whose likenesses we’re used to seeing while opening our wallets. In all the time the United States has been minting dollars and cents, however, only one First Lady has been similarly honored: Martha Washington, whose portrait once adorned the $1 silver certificate. 

Created in 1886, 17 years after her husband’s visage first graced the dollar bill, the certificate originally featured a design based on a portrait of the First Lady by painter Charles Jalabert. The currency, which was backed by the government’s silver deposits and could even be exchanged for the precious metal from the U.S. Treasury, remained in use until 1957. The bill was well received: The Indiana Democrat’s February 20, 1901 edition reported that “Persons fortunate enough to possess a one-dollar silver certificate have an excellent picture of Martha Washington, the wife of the Father of His Country.” 

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