If Charlotte had its own currency, who would be on the front of the bills?

This week we learned that abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, leaving Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, a change from the initial plans that led journalists to write great lines like: “This time, Alexander Hamilton dodged the bullet.”

This news got me thinking: If Charlotte had its own currency, who would be on the front of our bills? After a bit of brainstorming with some colleagues, this is what I came up with. Have better ideas? Tweet us.

$1: Leon Levine

The Levine name is everywhere in Charlotte — Levine Museum of the New South, Levine Jewish Community Center, Levine Children’s Hospital, Levine Center for the Art.

Levine made his money by opening the first Family Dollar store (get it? Dollar?) in Charlotte and the company is headquartered in Matthews.


$5: Captain James Jack

The tavern-owning, horse-riding inspiration for a local pilsner is a central part of one of Charlotte’s most interesting pieces of history (assuming you believe it happened).

Captain Jack carried the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and Mecklenburg Resolves to the Continental Congress in 1775. We already have a statue of him, and that story is already so entrenched in Charlotte — Independence Boulevard, Meck Dec Day, Charlotte Independence, the beer — that it only makes sense to put the Captain on a bill.


$10: Harvey B. Gantt

He’s more than just a name on the side of the African-American Arts + Culture museum uptown. Gantt was the first African-American mayor of Charlotte, serving from 1983-87. He was also the first black person to enter previously all-white Clemson University.


$20: Queen Charlotte

We have to put the woman this fine city is named after on a bill, right? Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany, was the wife of King George III of England.

I’m a big fan of the statue of her at the airport, so we could just use that look for the front of the bill.


$50: Jerry Richardson

He brought the NFL to Charlotte, which is kind of a big deal. But really the only reason I picked him is because I keep laughing at the thought of his grumpy face on the front of a bill.


$100: Hugh McColl

When you think Charlotte, you think banking. So it only makes sense that the largest bill would be graced by the face of the former Bank of America CEO.

And, like Levine, his name is plastered all over Charlotte — McColl Center for Art + Innovation, McColl Business School at Queens University of Charlotte — not to mention all the support he’s given to the arts in Charlotte.


Honorable mentions:

William Henry Belk

– Sam Mills

– Bruton Smith

Jane Renwick Smedberg Wilkes

Bonus: Ric Flair is absolutely going on the penny


HUGE thanks to Sergio Tovar for creating all of the currency illustrations.