Yellen: I Worked Hard on a Legible Signature for US Bills

'I knew this was something you could really screw up,' she tells Colbert
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2022 7:38 AM CST

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's signature will soon appear on US currency—and she says she "practiced and practiced" to make sure it was legible, unlike the signatures of some of her predecessors. "Tim Geithner and Jack Lew signed the currency and their signatures were so illegible that people made fun of them," Yellen told Stephen Colbert Wednesday on The Late Show, per Bloomberg. "I knew this was something you could really screw up, and I wanted to get it right, and I practiced and I practiced." In 2013 Obama appointee Lew's loopy signature was compared to a "Slinky that had lost its spring."

Steven Mnuchin, former President Trump's Treasury secretary, also had an illegible signature but he "broke with tradition and wrote his name in print rather than cursive," the New York Times notes. Mnuchin "never learned to connect his letters," Colbert joked while examining a banknote Wednesday. "You see what you think, but I think you'll be able to read the letters," Yellen told Colbert.

Yellen sat for the currency signing back in March 2021 but new notes continued to bear Mnuchin's name because no US treasurer had been appointed and notes traditionally have the names of both the treasurer and the Treasury secretary. US Treasurer Lynn Malerba, the first Native American to hold the post, was appointed in June. Yellen told Colbert that she will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, next week to see the first notes printed with both their names, reports Reuters. (More Janet Yellen stories.)

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