2020 was an unexpectedly challenging year, and at times it seemed like there was little to celebrate. There were lighter moments, however, so we’re taking a moment to look back on funny, inspiring and heart-warming tales of cash in 2020. In this part, we’ll take a look at the first half of the year.
In January, the first band to appear on a British coin with Queen Elizabeth II was—appropriately enough—Queen. A special, commemorative five-pound coin was issued by the Royal Mint, depicting the band’s logo and instruments. ‘Who would have thought it?’ said lead guitarist Brian May.
In February, Ritchie Torres—then a New York City Council member, now elected to Congress—led a charge against cashless businesses, introducing a bill banning businesses from rejecting cash that became law in November. He was inspired by a ‘humiliating experience’ of queueing for 10 minutes in a coffee shop before realising he only had cash, which was not accepted. ‘How could a business refuse to accept cash, which is legal tender?’ he said.
In March, a remarkable collection of coins dating back to the 7th century offered an unprecedented glimpse into the first decades of Islamic culture and history, in which they were said to have played a key role in ‘providing additional cohesion to the society.’
In April, the Arab world’s first female personality featured on a Tunisian banknote. The 10 dinar notes celebrate Dr. Tawhida ben Cheikh (1909–2010), who was the country’s first accredited female physician, and the first-ever female physician in North Africa. Amongst other achievements, she championed good healthcare and family planning in Tunisia’s poorest communities.
In May, the UN Refugee Agency provided over $5.6 million of cash-based assistance to refugees in Jordan. The beneficiaries—32,480 families and a total of 132,139 individuals—were mostly Syrian, and were allocated cash they could use to buy the goods and services of their choice, while contributing to their local economy.
In June, a collaboration between the UK’s Natural History Museum and Royal Mint saw the creation of The Dinosauria Collection: a trilogy of 50 pence pieces featuring dinosaurs. The coins—depicting an iguanadon, a Megalosaurus and a hylaeosaurus—are legal tender, and thus required a Proclamation from Her Majesty The Queen in order to be issued.
We’ll finish our roundup of good cash news tomorrow!