By Jonathan Darling
Standard-Times staff writer
September 23, 2007 6:00 AM
NEW BEDFORD — If famous Hollywood personality Bob Hope was born in 1903, then how did his mug shot get on the face of fifty-cent bill made in 1875?
Closer examination reveals it isn't Mr. Hope on this piece Fractional Currency, but the resemblance is striking enough to prompt bill owner and city resident Irving Segall to swing by The Standard-Times and share his discovery.
"I bought it from a coin dealer for $40," said Mr. Segall, who has collected coins since he was a child. "I couldn't believe how much it looked like Bob Hope."
Neither could some employees at the good ol' S-T, of which 60 percent of a very informal newsroom poll responded with "Wow" and "Hey, that is Bob Hope!"
The man on the face of the bill is actually William Harris Crawford (Feb. 24, 1772-Sept. 15, 1834), who according to the U.S. Congress, was the seventh U.S. Secretary of the Treasury for almost nine years under Presidents James Madison and James Monroe and also served as U.S. Secretary of War and as a member of the U.S. Senate. He finished third in the 1824 presidential election behind John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson despite having the support of Thomas Jefferson and Madison.
The need to use metals to make weapons during the Civil War caused a shortage of coins, which led to the creation of Fractional Currency, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Between 1862 and 1867, the government issued almost $370 million in Fractional Currency in denominations ranging from 3 to 50 cents.
The bills are still redeemable today.
Contact Jonathan Darling at firstname.lastname@example.org