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The monetary system of a nation is one of its most cherished possessions. Great pride is taken in maintaining its stability and strict laws protect it from debasement or counterfeiting. In contrast to postage stamps which are changed often and honor innumerable persons, only a nation's most famous or distinguished citizens are acknowledged by having their portraits on coins or currency. In some countries, such as England, the reigning monarch is the sole person portrayed. In the United States, only the most famous statesmen are portrayed on coins or currency. In the early history of the United States, the regular coinage often bore such symbolic figures as Liberty, an Indian, or an eagle. For a time after the Civil War, many generals, cabinet members, and local political figures were honored. Scientists, religious leaders, explorers, musicians, and other distinguished citizens have been acclaimed throughout the world on regular or commemorative issues.
Popkin RJ. MEDICAL NUMISMATICS—PHYSICIANS PORTRAYED ON COINS AND CURRENCY. JAMA. 1959;171(8):1144–1147. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73010260026024
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