So if we can’t rightfully claim Andrew Jackson, who has appeared on the twenty dollar bill since 1928, does that mean that no North Carolinian has ever been featured on a piece of federal currency? I’ve looked, and the only Tar Heel I could find on a bill or coin was Guilford County native Dolley Madison, who appeared on a commemorative silver dollar in 1999. It looks like these were primarily collector’s items and would not have been likely to wind up in your pocket. But that’s not the case with the new Presidential one-dollar coins, due to be issued starting this year.
In 2009, North Carolinians can finally look forward to finding one of their own on a piece of regular U.S. currency when the James K. Polk dollar appears. Although he, like Andrew Johnson, left North Carolina when still a young man, Polk was born in Mecklenburg County and attended the University of North Carolina, spending more time in our state than any other president to date.