Here's a little information on Togo the Hero Sled Dog and the Great Race of Mercy. I don't really want to type a whole long new message about the Great Race of Mercy, and this should be enough:
The story behind “The Togo $3 Bill Group” stems from my love of dogs, especially, North American red foxes, which are members of the dog family, but I also love many domestic breeds, such as Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Pomeranians, Welsh Corgis of both Pembroke and Cardigans, English Shepherds, Labradors, basically all dogs, as well as their relatives, other relatives, coyotes, wolves, jackals, dingoes, etc. although the mission of “The Togo $3 Bill Group” though honoring a nearly 100 year old Siberian Husky, whom ran the majority, and most dangerous part of a 674 mile race, to deliver an anti-toxin to Nome Alaska, during a bad diphtheria outbreak known as “The Great Race of Mercy” or “The Nome Serum Run”, running over 261 miles of the race, while somehow navigating through a storm, that his owner and musher, Leonhard Seppala could not even see to navigate through, which it was claimed, had Seppala and Togo’s team stopped to break camp during the storm, to wait it out, Seppala and his dog sled team, led by Togo would likely have frozen to death. At first, Seppala did not see Togo as “sled dog” material, as it was remarked that Togo seemed to be a “scrawny Husky” and Seppala rehomed Togo to another person, however, Togo was so loyal to Seppala, as his master, that he jumped through, and shattered a glass window, just to return to Seppala, and after this incident, this show of loyalty, Seppala never dared try to rehome Togo, ever again.
This loyalty and dedication that Togo showed to his master, symbolizes just how loyal dogs can be, to their owners as pets, and how devoted and important dogs are, to their K9 Handlers, as their fellow soldiers, police, fire, search & rescue, bomb squad, etc. dogs, that serve and put their lives on the line, some of these K9 heroes being killed in the line of duty. Although Togo was not in one of these more modern professions, as they likely can use snowmobiles in places of sled dogs in emergencies, these days, he and Balto, whom finished the Great Race of Mercy on February 2, 1925, though Balto only ran 55 miles of the home stretch of the race, and it was said that, Balto wrongfully got Togo’s credit for the race, due to claims of Togo running off after a reindeer after the race, and before the media arrived, to honor the dogs, and Balto got Togo’s credit, as a result, however, both Togo and Balto share the honor, on the front of the Togo $3 bill, with Togo being the obvious proposed portrait, and the blue silhouette of the Balto Memorial Statue to the right of Togo’s portrait, as the color theme and security feature of the $3 bill, as well as a proposed Balto Memorial Statue shaped watermark, in between the green Treasury Seal, and the right border of the bill (which would be seen, if the bill were held up to light) these two Legendary Hero Dogs, symbolize just how loyal and important K9 soldier and service dogs are to humans in this day and age, and also, how important wolves, coyotes and foxes were, to the Native people of Alaska, providing fur for clothing, bones for tools, jewelry, and other spiritual purposes, that helped them live and survive, in the chilly harsh habitat of the Arctic.
The reason Togo was chosen, and not a more proper “Military” or “Police” K9 is due to the fact that, The Togo $3 Bill Group could not gain any of their handler’s interests or support in featuring their dogs on a $3 bill. They may have thought that a $3 bill is a big joke, due to the many harsh phrases toward the $3 bill, such as “Phony as a $3 bill” “Queer as a $3 bill”, however, the U.S. $2 bill, a current, and very real denomination, featuring President Thomas Jefferson on the front, and the painting of the “Drafting of the Declaration of Independence” on the back, unfortunately, sometimes suffers these same two insults. So the reason I chose Togo, as I was told by another group, “Women on 20s”, that you may use Wiki Commons or Creative Commons pictures, and although I had originally planned a Balto $3 bill, the museum whom owns Balto’s rights, were giving me the runaround for a few years, and wanted $7,000 just to use Balto’s portrait one time. Togo had a good Creative Commons picture available, and because many people told me “He was the true hero, so why not Togo?” And the only reason I considered a $3 bill, is because, as stated in a video, courtesy of “The $2 Bill Documentary” a movie, all about the $2 bill and it’s history, as well as a couple example $1 and $2 bills of our first Federal currency, the “Legal Tender” notes, issued by the “Legal Tender Act of 1862” show, in the middle of their designs, numerals 1, 2, and 3, and on the $1 Legal Tender note, the 1 is highlighting in a white circle, and on the $2 Legal Tender note, the white circle is on the 2, and below the 2 on both notes, is a 3, which, although, in black & white, a picture of the official $3 Legal Tender note, which was drawn up, to be our first Federal $3 bill, does not contain the three numerals with the 3 highlighted in the white circle, and shares a different design, while in the same family of Legal Tender note series, was intended to be, but, the $3 note never made it to the printing presses, for reasons unknown. (I suspect this has to do with the fact that, although they first issued a $2.50 gold Quarter Eagle coin and a $5 gold Half Eagle coin, the U.S. government also issued a $3 gold coin to make it easier to purchase a sheet of 3-cent postage stamps, as were two versions of a 3-cent coin, both a nickel and a silver 3-cent coin, for the same purpose. So my guess is, although the $3 coin was said to be unpopular, because the American public was already accustomed to both a $2.50 coin and a $3 coin, they decided to go with an even $2 paper bill, as opposed to a $2.50 bill, and also thought that, because the American public was also accustomed to a $3 coin, that they should print a $3 paper bill when they stopped with the Gold Standard, as well, but later on, thought about the $3 coin’s unpopularity, and thus, halted the plans for the $3 bill, before they started up the presses, feeling the $3 bill, too, would also fail to be popular. However, a law for the 1860’s currency series called for a $3 bill twice, within that decade, which still, somehow never made it into production) The Togo $3 Bill Group seeks to resurrect this long forgotten, briefly considered denomination, as the most likely candidate denomination, to allow honoring the portrait of what most people would say is “just a dog” because, although, like another group “Women on 20s” who seeks to honor a prominent woman on the front of the $20 bill, marking the 100th anniversary of Women gaining their right to vote, in 1920, for unveiling a new $20 bill, with Slavery Abolitionist and Women’s Right’s Activist, “Harriet Tubman” in 2020, (1920-2020) I wish for the Togo $3 bill Group, we could have done a Togo $25 bill, to be unveiled in 2020, along with proposed new $20, $10 and $5 bills which would also honor famous women, and people of color, such as “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” and issued on February 2, 2025 due to the fact that, that date in 2025 will mark the 100th anniversary of the year of the Great Race of Mercy’s completion (1925-2025) However, due to the needs of the added security features of a $25 bill, which would likely circulate more than the $3 bill will, and unfortunately, although we have been made aware that authorizing a $3 bill would be a “hard sell” to Congress, we were told that a $25 bill would be even harder, due to the fact of it being easy enough to just carry a $20 bill and a $5 bill, so, instead of delving into the arguments of a drawing out, and creating a highly secure, $25 bill, simply to honor “just a dog”, I settled on the possibility of the $3 bill, also due to the fact that, when Woman on 20s first started, the U.S. Treasury was originally going to have a female human face either share, or replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, and so many Hamilton fans threw such a backlash, that the proposal moved back to the $20 bill, with the less popular, slave owning, creator of the “Trail of Tears” with the “Indian Removal Act” President Andrew Jackson, whom the Women on 20s group is trying to replace with a more positive image. This is why I would fear a public backlash if I had suggested to replace President Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill or even, President Thomas Jefferson on the little used $2 bill, for example: Because most people would give backlash saying I was trying to replace a famous, “more important human” figure with what most people would think is “just a dog” And I also felt that, most people would think “A $3 bill? Well, unless I ask for one at the bank, I will likely not see one, very often, so I don’t care if they put Count Dracula, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, etc. on it” and such, due to the $3 denomination likely not being important to most of the general public, and likely being snatched up as souvenirs by most people who obtained them, much like the little used half dollar coin, varieties of U.S. $1 coins, and $2 bills. However, on an interesting note, when I talked on a U.S. coin and currency collector’s forum decades ago, about if they had issued the $3 bill as planned, if they thought anyone would like the $3 bill, to which one person responded “Horse racing tracks would probably love to raise their minimum $2 bets, to $3” , where they currently circulate the $2 bill fairly often, I am told. Maybe if the “Great Race of Mercy $3 Federal Reserve Note Act” passes, this is where we will see the Togos circulating the most, as horse tracks would probably be tempted to raise their minimum bets from $2 to $3, rather than raising it up $3 to $5 a minimum bet.
Bottom line is, The Togo $3 Bill Group’s goal is to resurrect the forgotten plans of the $3 bill, which would be a “Federal Reserve” note today, and to have it honor Togo and Balto in his Memorial Statue form, on the front of the note, and a sled team, with a masked musher, representing Leonhard Seppala, a dog sled team, representing Togo’s dog sled team, and a coyote howling at a full moon, with the face of a gray wolf inside the moon for spiritual reasons, and a North American red fox standing to the sled team’s right, on the back of the note, in order to symbolize the K9 police, military, search & rescue, bomb squad, fire, etc. dogs that serve and are killed in the dangerous lines of duty they face, each and every day, of their professions.
As I have said, this idea has been fought for, since I was 15 years old, and I worked with a dollar coin lobby group, known as the “Coin Coalition” led by the late James C. Benfield, all the way back in 1995, and I am 39 years old now, and I paid $750 for the front and back renderings of the Togo $3 bill, you see on this page, and this is not a joke, just to be clear, being a $3 bill, and with a dog on it, as I have clarified, had I been joking around, the “joke” would have died over 20+ years ago, and I would not have wasted $750 on drawing up a “joke”, nor would I try to get a “joke” and successfully get that “joke” published in Coin World magazine, and as I also said, different, more logical denominations and dogs were considered, such as a Balto $200 bill, and proposed reissue of the President William McKinley $500 bill and possibly the President Grover Cleveland $1,000 bill in the late 1990’s, to counter the Euro, when they were discussing a 200 and 500 Euro note, with the 500 Euro note being worth around $880 back then, so a Balto $200 bill was considered to counter the 100 Euro note, the McKinley $500 bill to counter the 200 Euro note, and the Cleveland $1,000 bill to counter the (now retired as of 2018) 500 Euro note, however, the U.S. had concerns and policies over issuing and/or reissuing currency denominations larger than $100, aiding organized crime, which is why the 500 Euro note, nicknamed the “Bin Laden” was retired, and I get the feeling it will not be long before the 200 Euro note is on the chopping block, as people here in the U.S. are trying to phase out our Benjamin Franklin $100 bills, our Ulysses S. Grant $50 bills and some even want our possibly soon to become “Harriet Tubman” $20 bills phased out, with the Alexander Hamilton $10 bill being out highest cash denomination, and believe it or not, I was told by the same dollar coin lobbyist that said a $3 bill would be a “hard sell” to Congress, that getting a $3 bill issued would be way easier than getting any denomination over $100 ever issued again.
Two other denominations I considered, were a “Famous Dogs Half Dollar Coin Act” featuring a 9-year program, with a copper colored sided half dollar coin, similar to Canada’s $1 coin, reduced to size between the quarter and golden dollar coin, and a sided half, to be easily told from a quarter, or a tarnished golden dollar coin by looks and feel, with four famous dogs (excluding “false” famous dogs, such as movie star, celebrity, presidential pets, etc.) each year of a 9-year program, and only concentrated on honoring police, military, fire, search & rescue, fire, sled, etc. dogs, while honoring the gray wolf on the reverse of the coins of years 1-3, the coyote on the reverse for years 4-6, and the North American red fox, on the reverse of years 7-9, of the coin program, although I was never sure whether the same three designs would appear of the wolf, coyote and fox, or if they would be posed differently for each year of the series, had it succeeded. And there was a proposed “Famous Dogs $2 Coin Act” proposed back in the late 1990’s when the golden dollars were preparing for release, and Congress mentioned possible authorization of a U.S. $2 coin, to help speed up the phase-out of the $1 and $2 bills, and my Famous Dogs $2 coins would have used Canada’s bimetallic silver ring around a golden center coin as the prototype, only with the half dollar coin program, after the famous dogs program ended, a new, permanent President John F. Kennedy design would have returned to the front of the half and possibly, another eagle design to the back of the half, while keeping it smaller and copper colored, to use less metal content, making it cheaper to mint a half, as the current halves are just as much weight and metal as two quarters, and to make halves work more easily in vending machines. The $2 coin, however, would have reverted back to a permanent Balto obverse with a possible eagle reverse, as well.
So, now you know the history and story behind the efforts to push for the resurrection of the $3 bill by “The Togo $3 Bill Group”