When US President Barack Obama nominated Jack Lew as the new Secretary of the US Treasury in January, the media had one overwhelming concern about the appointment: Lew’s illegible signature, which resembles the doodle of an absent-minded child, would now appear on every US banknote.
“I had never noticed Jack’s signature,” Obama joked as he announced Lew’s elevation. “And when this was highlighted in the press, I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him.”
Now Lew has made good on his promise. Though the banknotes featuring his signature have yet to enter circulation, reporters spotted an improved version of the former scrawl in a new report published by the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Lew’s first name, middle initial and last name are all now semi-legible in the updated autograph.
However, administration officials have warned that the new Secretary’s signature on forthcoming dollar bills remains a work in progress, and that the new currency will feature a third and final iteration of Lew’s loopy scribble.
Though this is an extreme case, it is not uncommon for Treasury Secretaries to hone their John Hancocks before adding them to banknotes. Former Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in an interview last year that he, too, had been asked to improve his signature after submitting it to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.