The Presidential Dollar Coin Act (Public Law 109-145) was passed into law on December 22, 2005. The Act compelled the Secretary of the Treasury to “mint coins in commemoration of each of the Nation’s past presidents and their spouses, respectively, to improve circulation of the $1 coin, [and] to create a new bullion coin”. The architects of the law, citing the success of the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program (31 U.S.C. 5112(l)), believed that the introduction of regularly changing designs would radically increase demand for a $1 coin, which despite early signs of consumer interest, had failed to achieve widespread use after its debut in 2000.
The first four Presidential dollar designs debuted in 2007, and like the Sacagawea dollar that preceded them, the coins found little public support in commerce. In 2011, the United States Mint curtailed the production of the Presidential (and Native American) dollar coins and began to strike them solely for the purpose of selling them to collectors.
The Ronald W. Reagan $1 coin is the last of three issues released in 2016 and the 39th and final issue of the 39-issue series. It honors Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Born in Illinois on February 6, 1911, Reagan began his career in local radio as a sports announcer before becoming an actor and finding success in Hollywood. At this time in his life, Reagan was a member of the Democratic Party and supported liberal causes. He served as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) – the union for Hollywood actors – in the late 1940s. An ardent anti-communist, he used his position in the SAG to root out communism in Hollywood and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
In 1949, an actress by the name of Nancy Davis contacted Reagan in order to get herself removed from a blacklist of communists working in Hollywood (she had been confused with another actress with the same name). The recently-divorced Reagan–the only president ever to have done so–began dating Ms. Davis and the two were married in 1952. His marriage to First Lady Nancy Reagan lasted until his death in 2004. Mrs. Reagan passed away earlier this year.
The couple’s experiences as anti-communists living and working in Hollywood eventually encouraged them to become conservative Republicans, and Ronald Reagan gained national prominence as a politician due to his support of the conservative Barry Goldwater during the latter’s presidential campaign in 1964. In many ways a watershed event in American political history, many other later politicians of note started their careers working for the Goldwater campaign–including a young Hillary Clinton.
Reagan became governor of California in 1966. This was quickly followed by a presidential campaign of his own in 1968 (the Republican Party chose Richard Milhous Nixon as its ultimately successful candidate). He was reelected governor in 1970 and ran for president again in 1976. A third run, this time against President Jimmy Carter in 1980, was finally successful. Reagan served two terms in office as President of the United States between 1981 and 1989.
He is most remembered for helping to resolve the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981 and leading the country during the final decade of the Cold War with the Soviet Union*, though he is also responsible for the Iran-Contra Affair of 1986, military interventionism around the world (especially in Central America), breaking the federal air traffic controllers’ strike of 1981, the United States’ slow response to the AIDS crisis and runaway federal deficit spending.
Reagan’s health had been in decline ever since John Hinckley, Jr. shot and nearly killed the president in a 1981 assassination attempt, though this fact was concealed from the public. In 1994, Reagan publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease that year, instantly becoming one of the most famous faces of the condition. His last public appearance took place the next year at President Nixon’s state funeral.
Ronald W. Reagan died on June 5, 2004.
*In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan was a member of an unofficial, international Cold War “triumvirate” of sorts that also included Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.
The front-facing portrait of a smiling President Reagan was designed by Richard Masters, whose initials “RAM” are located on Reagan’s right shoulder (the viewer’s left). Joseph Menna adapted and engraved the design; his initials “JFM” are on the president’s left shoulder.
The inscription RONALD REAGAN arcs around the top of the portrait, while IN GOD WE TRUST, 40th PRESIDENT and the years of his two terms in office arc along the bottom rim of the coin beneath reagan’s bust.
Don Everhart’s reverse design features an ant’s-eye view of the Statue of Liberty offset to the left. On the coin, Liberty occupies bottom right quadrant of the coin, her extended elbow being the coin’s center point. The design is framed by a thin inner circle, which separates the graphic design from the coin’s legend, which reads: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Beneath Liberty’s extended torch-bearing arm is the denomination $1. This is the common reverse design for all Presidential Series $1 coins.
The edge of the coin is smooth, not reeded, and features several inscriptions moved there by law to ensure adequate space on the obverse of the coin for the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Edge lettering includes the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM, the date 2016 and the mint mark (P or D for Uncirculated strikes, S for Proofs).
Designer(s): United States Mint engraver Joseph Menna has more than three dozen coin and medal designs to his credit since joining the Mint in 2005 (View Designer’s Profile). Don Everhart joined the United States Mint sculpting and engraving department in 2004, after a long and successful career as a sculptor and designer of medals (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:
|P, D & S (Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco)
|88.5% copper, 6% Zinc, 3.5% Manganese, 2% Nickel
|1.043 in. (26.49 mm)
|Richard Masters / Joseph Menna
|Uncirculated & Proof
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