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Modern US Coins – House Passes American Innovation $1 Coin Act

American Innovation $1 Coin Act

By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 770, the American Innovation $1 Coin Act. The bill would require the Treasury to “mint coins in recognition of American innovation & significant innovation and pioneering efforts of individuals or groups” from each state, territory and the District of Columbia.

The American Innovation dollar coin would serve as a replacement of sorts for the Presidential $1 coin series, which ended its first run in 2016. Native American $1 Coins, however, would continue to be produced alongside the new series.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Representative James A. Himes (D-CT4) originally introduced a version of the Act (H.R. 6025) to the 114th Congress on September 4, 2016. That bill died in committee, but Rep. Himes reintroduced the program early last year on January 31, 2017 as H.R. 770. At the time of this writing, co-sponsors currently include 16 republicans and 15 democrats.


The proposed legislation decrees that the common obverse design should feature a likeness of the Statue of Liberty “large enough to provide a dramatic representation”. The denomination $1 and the motto “In God We Trust” must also be inscribed on the obverse.

Each reverse is to feature an “image or images” representing each state, territory and federal district and must be “emblematic of one of the following”:

  • Significant innovation with its roots or origins in the state, district or territory;
  • A specific innovator or pioneer from the state, district or territory; or
  • A group of innovators or pioneers;

The name of the state, district or territory and the inscriptions $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will be located on the reverse. The legend E PLURIBUS UNUM is to be incised on the edge of the coin.

The Secretary of the Treasury will consult with the governor of each state and territory as to the contents of each design. He or she will also consult the federal Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) will review and discuss each design as well.


Four coins will be released every year over the next 14 years (2017-2031). The first coin, however, will serve as a introduction to the series, and feature a rendering of George Washington’s signature on the first patent issued by the United States of America. After the first coin, each state, district and territory will be represented on a dollar coin in alphabetical order. If a new state joins the Union during the run of the program, then the Treasury Secretary is authorized to release a fifth coin to any given year’s output.

Intriguingly, the Act also features a provision preventing issuance of a dollar coin for any state or territory that becomes independent of the U.S. before its entry in the program is struck.

A version of the bill (S. 1326) was introduced to the Senate on June 8, 2017 by Senator Christopher Murphy, a fellow democrat from Connecticut.

The widgets below (courtesy of govtrack.us) will update as progress occurs.

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Hubert Walker
Hubert Walker
Hubert Walker has served as the Assistant Editor of CoinWeek.com since 2015. Along with co-author Charles Morgan, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the monthly column "Market Whimsy" for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing.

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  1. These coins are effectively yet another set of non-circulating commemoratives, adding to production that’s already approaching (or beyond) the saturation point for collectors. We have oceans of $1 coins sitting in vaults because Congress is too unwilling to stand up to the nay-sayers and Crane Paper lobbyists who reflexively defend the wasteful $1 bill.

    Dozens of other countries successfully eliminated their low-denomination notes decades ago without their economies collapsing. In the meantime we taxpayers are funding production and distribution of a bill that’s essentially unchanged since 1928 and has the rough purchasing power of a nickel from that era.

    A win-win would be for the Treasury to stop producing $1 bills in favor of using those billions of dollar coins AND at the same time issue a modernized $2 bill. People would never get more than a single $1 coin in change, addressing a common objection of its opponents, while the BEP’s workload could be reduced by maybe a third with an accompanying reduction in costs.

  2. Man, the Golden Dollars program is Rediculous..They’re stockpiled & never circulated..Bazillions of them..
    I think it’s a Bogus Ploy to employment continuing, not laying people off..
    I mean, what Benefit are they?


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