Paper money be out of reach for all but our first First Lady at the moment, but a handful of notable women have enjoyed the honor of appearing on U.S. coinage.
Susan B. Anthony
Women’s suffrage icon Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to be featured on circulating coinage in 1979 when this dollar – her face on its obverse – replaced the one featuring President Eisenhower. The reverse depicts an eagle landing on the moon. The coin was legislated the previous year by President Jimmy Carter.
This dollar coin, also known as the “golden dollar,” features a three-quarter profile of the Native American woman whose help was instrumental on Lewis and Clark’s famed expedition, along with her infant son. Sacagawea was pregnant when she joined the voyage and gave birth while amid the trek. Its reverse features an eagle along with 17 stars that represent the states in existence at the time of the 1804 journey.
This 2003 State Quarter was the 22nd released in the series. Keller is featured on its reverse; her name appears both in print and in braille, along with a banner that reads “Spirit of Courage.”
Queen Isabella of Spain
On American coinage? Indeed. This silver commemorative was issued in 1893, a token created for the Board of Lady Managers at the World’s Columbian Exposition. The board itself was the brainchild of Susan B. Anthony, who believed that women deserved equal representation at the event.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
In 1995, Shriver became the first living woman to appear a commemorative coin, an honor bestowed for her work in founding the Special Olympics. She was 73 at the time. Her portrait is featured on the obverse, her quote on the reverse: “As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us.”
Eleanor & Virginia Dare
The Roanoke Island North Carolina Half Dollar, a commemorative issued in 1937, features Sir Walter Raleigh on the obverse. The reverse, however, features woman and child representations of Eleanor Dare – a member of the infamous Roanoke “lost colony” – and her daughter, Virginia, the first colonial child born stateside.
First Spouse Coins
In 2007, the U.S. Mint began to issue these half-ounce, $10 gold commemoratives featuring the portraits of each of the nation’s First Ladies in the order in which they served. Each has a unique reverse with images relevant to the featured woman’s life and work. Bronze medal duplicates of these coins are available, as well, and are currently sold only as part of a set.