Why Adafruit thinks it's legal to stamp Harriet Tubman over Andrew Jackson on the US $20

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/15/underground-railroad.html


Palimpsest. Art of transformation. Human rights.
Loving it.


Mnuchin hasn’t outright canceled the plan yet, he’s only said he’ll revisit it in the future and left the door open to leaving Jackson on the bill. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. All horrible things will come in due time.


I sure hope they don’t use Noodler’s Bad Black Moccasin ink for this endeavor. In that it bonds to celluloid fiber permanently - and won’t wash off with water, bleach, or other chemicals, resists laser removal, and in general is UV resistant.

Yep - that’d be the worst ink to use.


True. Suppose the article is gearing up for what must be coming. For sure killing the plan panders to the right wing base.

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I see what you did there. But it took me a while to realize it. Well played!

On-topic: for once I feel more freedom as a Canadian. My understanding here is we can mark ours, so long as the bill isn’t destroyed. Can’t alter a coin, though.




I’m pretty sure I’ve seen vending machines in Canada that will press a penny into an imprinted souvenir, just like they have in the states. I’m not sure either is entirely legal, because both deface coins, but the product isn’t coin-shaped which may make all the difference.

Also: it may be legal to deface Canadian paper money, but I’d have thought the notes you now have would make it more difficult, would resist many inks?

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This is one of the best examples of “briar patching” I’ve seen in a long, long time. Well done!


Assuming this does not create false positives in counterfeit bill detectors, I’m all for it. As no fan of Jackson myself, I’m considering creating some Thomas Paine, Grover Cleveland, and Cal Coolidge twenties.

It’s obviously not defacement. It’s clearly refacement.


I was wondering if it’s even possible to get ink to stick to the new plastic notes we have in the UK.
It turns out that yes, some ink will stick, and now my fiver is covered in biro, oh well.


It’s interesting that they’re doing this head on rather than “here’s a Harriet Tubman stamp design that happens to fit the profile of Andrew Jackson on the U.S. $20” (similar to head shops selling bongs for “tobacco”). They do serve to profit from selling the components to produce the stamp as linked in the instructional page. I’m kind of excited to see how this plays out. If the feds go after Adafruit it will expand the national dialogue on our racist icons.


There’s such an obviously good design for a new $20 floating on the internets.

29 AM

(Lousy trigger discipline but then, if you got shot by Harriet Tubman we can safely assume you needed shooting)


if you got shot by Harriet Tubman we can safely assume you needed shooting.

Definitely. And I would pay crisp Harriet Tubman 20s to see a film with the protagonist, “Harriett Tubman, License to Kill.”


I also wish the Tubman $20’s had become a reality, but I disagree with Adafruit about the legality of this stamp. Or at least the advisability.

A Tubman-stamped $20 is indeed “unfit to be reissued”. It is unrecognizable by bill acceptors, which is a major use case for paper currency. In the words of the statute, it has been “defaced”. No bank would give such bills to their customers. This is unlike many other stamps (like “where’s George”) that do not affect the bill’s usability.

Since the bill won’t continue to circulate, there’s no value to the stamp, other than self-indulgence. You’re just making the feds destroy a banknote and print another one. It’s wasteful and silly.


Canadians don’t use pennies as money anymore, so you can do with them whatever you like.


I’m so grateful to many, many protesters who persevered, despite dismissal of their efforts as wasteful and silly.


Some worthwhile protests have been dismissed as wasteful and silly efforts. This does not mean that all wasteful and silly efforts are worthwhile protests.

This one fails at its stated purpose - to circulate bills that will raise awareness - because the bills will not continue to circulate.