US Treasury Secretary makes loopy signature clearer

Jack Lew's signature, before and after Mr Lew's loopy signature was derided by US commentators as "ridiculous", "insane" and "one of those crazy straws"

Related Stories

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who was mocked for his loopy signature, has offered a more legible version.

His new sign-off, on a recent Treasury report, showed an attempt to lay out the letters more clearly.

At Mr Lew's nomination in January, President Barack Obama had joked that at least one letter had to be readable "in order not to debase our currency".

One of the Treasury Secretary's functions involves signing new US dollar bills.

Mr Lew's signature, which made its debut on an annual report issued last month by the Treasury's Financial Stability Oversight Council, spelled out his first name, middle initial and surname. His previous signature featured eight loops.

When he was chosen for the Treasury post, Mr Obama had joked: "I had never noticed Jack's signature. And when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him.

"Jack assured me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency," he added.

Mr Lew's loopy signature had divided opinion among Americans, with the New York Times suggesting he "clean up his penmanship" while a petition was launched calling for Mr Lew's signature to be protected.

Tim Geithner's signature on dollar bill Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's signature on dollar bills was described as "chicken scratch"
'Chicken scratch'

The Treasury Secretary's signature is required on each currency note in order to make it legal tender.

But it is not unusual for Treasury secretaries to change their signatures which are featured on the lower right-hand side of each currency note.

Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said he had to change his signature when he submitted it to the Treasury's Bureau of Printing and Engraving for printed bills.

When an interviewer asked him last year: "Is it true that... you changed [your signature] into that chicken scratch?" Mr Geithner replied: "Well, I think on the dollar bill I had to write something where people could read my name. That's the rationale."

It is not clear when new bills with Mr Lew's signature will be available.

After receiving signatures from the new secretary and the new treasurer, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving creates a series of bills with new serial numbers and suffix letters. A new plate has to be designed before printing the bills.

The Treasury Secretary is also responsible for the design of currency, including the portraits that appear on paper currency, according to the Bureau.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of


  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news


  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support


  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.