Local Current Blog

Flashy cash: David Bowie appears on ten-pound notes in Brixton

photo by Charlie Waterhouse (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Bowie on a ten-pound note? That’s the case in the Brixton district of London, where cash has recently become crafty.

As the New York Times reports, custom currencies are springing up in several areas around the world, including England, Amsterdam, and the northeastern United States. The idea behind these new notes is to keep the cash flow local. Instead of shopping at chain stores, customers are encouraged to spend at local shops and restaurants where the currency is accepted.

While Brixton chooses to honor native David Bowie, many other influential figures are featured on the new collectible notes. Among those honored on custom currency in various places are J.K. Rowling (Bristol), Karl Marx (Brixton), Norman Rockwell (Massachusetts), and W.E.B. Du Bois (Massachusetts). By featuring local notables, currency designers hope to foster a sense of community and togetherness that a government-produced currency may not offer.

If Minneapolis or St. Paul were to have a local currency, what musicians—or other local notables—would you like to see on a $10 bill?

Allegra Wallingford, of Eden Prairie, is a rising sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. She runs a music blog called the Suburban Hipster and drinks a lot of coffee.