HomeCollecting StrategiesUnited States Presidential $1 Coins: A Golden Opportunity

United States Presidential $1 Coins: A Golden Opportunity


By Ron DrzewuckiModern Coin Wholesale …..
Since Dwight D. Eisenhower last appeared on our coinage in 1978, the American public has been slow to accept the idea of a dollar coin. Some people blame its confusing size; after all, how can a coin the size of a quarter be worth a dollar? Other people believe it’s a good product suffering from lousy marketing. Whatever the reason, the dollar coin in America tends to be a controversial subject.

The Presidential golden dollar is no exception.

First issued in 2007, the Mint had high hopes for the coin. Vast numbers were minted for circulation. But the public was hesitant, and businesses were skittish. Few were using the coin the way it needed to be used. Large stockpiles of unspent Presidential dollars began to accumulate.

Then the Great Recession hit.

Granted, the program had enemies from day one. Many members of Congress saw it as just another example of wasteful, out-of-control Big Government spending. With the recession in 2008, the economic benefits of producing and circulating dollar coins suddenly became harder to argue for when compared to those uncirculated stockpiles.

*And even though no House or Senate bill proposing to end the program has yet succeeded, in 2011 the Mint and the Treasury Department stopped producing new Presidential dollars for circulation. Starting with Chester A. Arthur in 2012, all Presidential golden dollar coins have been made for collectors only and at relatively reduced mintages.

The program itself is legislated to end when all eligible presidents have been featured on a coin (only presidents who have been dead for at least two years by the time the program catches up with their term of office are considered eligible). At four presidents a year since 2007, this means that the series ends in the middle of 2016.

United States Mint 2016 Richard M. Nixon Presidential $1 CoinWhen the law was signed, the last eligible president was Richard M. Nixon. Since then, both President Ford and President Reagan have passed away. For a long time, there was some debate among collectors whether the program would end when it ran into the first non-eligible (i.e., living) president (in this case, Jimmy Carter). That issue was settled when the Mint announced last year that they would be producing a Ronald Reagan Presidential dollar coin. No date is set, but the coin and its associated coin products (with the possible exception of the Reagan Coin & Chronicles Set) will be available for order sometime in August.

It goes without saying that the Reagan Presidential dollar should be very popular and a great way for the series to end on a high note.

Until then, each Presidential dollar features a different president on its obverse. Above each president’s head is his name, and below it is his order in the list and the dates of his presidency. For example, George Washington’s coin reads GEORGE WASHINGTON 1st PRESIDENT 1789-1797.

The series features a common reverse designed by Don Everhart. It shows a view of the Statue of Liberty from approximately the waist up, with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in a semicircle above her. Interestingly, the denomination of the Presidential golden dollar is inscribed as $1, and is one of a select few U.S. coins to have the dollar sign on it.

E PLURIBUS UNUM and IN GOD WE TRUST were both originally placed on the edge of the coin, but after people complained that IN GOD WE TRUST wasn’t prominent enough (or indeed missing, in some rare instances), that motto was moved to the obverse by an act of Congress in 2009.

So with this mix of patriotism and religious feeling, Presidential dollars are a golden opportunity to own a piece of modern Americana.


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  1. Arguments about size and color are straw men, pure and simple. I’ve yet to hear anything other than muttering when I ask grumblers to explain why they have no difficulty with cents and nickels being larger than dimes, or cents and dimes being closer in size than quarters and dollars.

    However … every other country that’s successfully replaced its dollar-bill equivalent also has a widely circulating two-dollar (euro/pound/etc.) coin, yet this fact is conspicuously ignored by all but a few dollar-coin advocates. Even if the US can’t possibly bring itself to introduce a $2 coin, why can’t a widely-available $2 bill be part of any plan to eliminate the $1 note? It would blunt the “pocketful of dollar coins” objection raised by so many nay-sayers while reducing demands on the BEP by 20-25%. Finally, Crane Paper might not fight tooth and nail because they could keep at least part of their monopoly – distasteful as it may be to the rest of us.


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