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Banner: Presidential $1 Coins

The United States is honoring our Nation's Presidents by issuing $1 coins featuring their images in the order that they served in office.  The United States Mint issues four Presidential $1 Coins each year, with Presidents Arthur, Cleveland (first term), Harrison, and Cleveland (second term) being honored in 2012.   In December 2011, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner directed that the United States Mint suspend minting and issuing circulating Presidential $1 Coins.   Regular circulating demand for the coins will be met through the Federal Reserve Bank's existing inventory of circulating coins minted prior to 2012.   The United States Mint will continue to offer several products that contain Presidential $1 Coins.  See Scheduled Products Listing.

Each Presidential $1 Coin has a common reverse design featuring a striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty.  These coins feature large, dramatic artwork, as well as edge-incused inscriptions of the year of minting, or issuance, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the mint mark.  In 2009, the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST was moved from the edge to the face of the coin.  The size, weight and metal composition of the Presidential $1 Coins are identical to that of the Sacagawea Golden Dollar  and the Native American $1 Coins.  Learn more about the Presidential $1 Coin's design features.

Presidential $1 Coin Program

United States
Value 1 U.S. dollar
Mass 8.100 g (0.26 troy oz)
Diameter 26.5 mm (1.043 in)
Thickness 2.00 mm (0.0787 in)
Edge Engraved: text "E pluribus unum", the coin's mint mark, its year of issuance, and 13 five-pointed stars (prior to 2009: text "In God We Trust")
Composition Copper with manganese brass cladding:
88.5% Cu
6% Zn
3.5% Mn
2% Ni
Years of minting 2007–2011 (Circulation)
2012–Present (Collectors Only)
Design Portrait of deceased US Presidents
Designer Various
Design date 2007
Design Statue of Liberty
Designer Don Everhart
Design date 2007

The Presidential $1 Coin Program is part of an Act of Congress, Pub.L. 109-145, 119 Stat. 2664, enacted December 22, 2005, which directs the United States Mint to produce $1 coins with engravings of relief portraits of U.S. Presidents on the obverse.

From 2007 to 2011, Presidential $1 Coins were minted for circulation in large numbers, resulting in a large stockpile of unused $1 coins. Since 2012, new Presidential coins are only being minted for collectors, in order to reduce the stockpile.

Legislative history

Senate Bill 1047 was introduced on May 17, 2005, by Senator John E. Sununu with over 70 co-sponsors. It was reported favorably out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs without amendment on July 29, 2005. The Senate passed it with a technical amendment (S.AMDT.26760), by unanimous consent on November 18, 2005. The House of Representatives passed it (291–113) on December 13, 2005. (A similar bill, H.R. 902, had previously passed in the House, but it was the Senate bill which was passed by both chambers.) The engrossed bill was presented to President Bush on December 15, 2005, and he signed it into law on December 22, 2005.

Program details

The program began on January 1, 2007, and is similar to the State Quarter program in that it will not end until every eligible subject is honored. The program is to issue coins featuring each of four presidents per year on the obverse, issuing one for three months before moving on to the next president in chronological order by term in office. The U.S. Mint calls it the Presidential $1 Coin Program.

The reverse of the coins bears the Statue of Liberty, the inscription "$1" and the inscription "United States of America". Inscribed along the edge of the coin is the year of minting or issuance of the coin, the mint mark, 13 stars, and also the legends E Pluribus Unum. The edge-lettering looks like this: ★★★★★★★★★★  2009  D  ★★★  E PLURIBUS UNUM; before 2009, In God We Trust was a part of the edge lettering. The legend "Liberty" is absent from the coin altogether, since the decision was made that the image of the Statue of Liberty on the reverse of the coin was sufficient to convey the message of liberty. The text of the act does not specify the color of the coins, but per the U.S. Mint "the specifications will be identical to those used for the current Golden dollar".The President Washington $1 Coin was first available to the public on February 15, 2007, in honor of Presidents' Day, which was observed on February 19.

This marks the first time since the St. Gaudens Double Eagle (1907–33) that the United States has issued a coin with edge lettering for circulation. Edge lettered coins date back to the 1790s. The process was started to discourage the shaving of gold coin edges, a practice which was used to cheat payees. In December 2007, Congress passed H.R. 2764, moving "In God We Trust" to either the obverse or reverse of the coins.This is the same bill that created a program that will include quarters for Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

The act had been introduced because of the failure of the Sacagawea $1 coin to gain widespread circulation in the United States. The act sympathized with the need of the nation's private sector for a $1 coin and expected that the appeal of changing the design would increase the public demand for new coins (as the public generally responded well to the State Quarter program). The program will also educate the public about the history of the nation's presidents. Should the coin not catch on with the general public, the Mint is hoping that collectors will be as interested in the dollars as they were with the State Quarters, which generated about $4.6 billion in seigniorage between January 1999 and April 2005, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Stack showing writing on edge

Unlike the State Quarter program and the Westward Journey nickel series, which suspended the issuance of the current design during those programs, the act directed the Mint to continue to issue Sacagawea dollar coins during the Presidential series. The law states that at least one in three issued dollars must be a Sacagawea dollar. Furthermore, the Sacagawea design is required to continue after the Presidential program ends. These requirements were added at the behest of the North Dakota congressional delegation to ensure that Sacagawea, whom North Dakotans consider to be one of their own, ultimately remains on the dollar coin.

However, Federal Reserve officials indicated to Congress that "if the Presidential $1 Coin Program does not stimulate substantial transactional demand for dollar coins, the requirement that the Mint nonetheless produce Sacagawea dollars would result in costs to the taxpayer without any offsetting benefits." In that event, the Federal Reserve indicated that it would "strongly recommend that Congress reassess the one-third requirement."The one-third requirement was later changed to one-fifth by the Native American $1 Coin Act,passed on September 20, 2007, and Sacagawea dollars were only 0.8% of the total dollar coins produced through November 2007.

Previous versions of the act called for removing from circulation dollar coins issued before the Sacagawea dollar, most notably the Susan B. Anthony dollar, but the version of the act which became law merely directs the Secretary of the Treasury to study the matter and report back to Congress. The act does require federal government agencies (including the United States Postal Service), businesses operating on federal property, and federally funded transit systems to accept and dispense dollar coins by January 2008, and to post signs indicating that they do so.

The program's end

The act specifies that for a president to be honored, the former president must have been deceased for at least two years before issue. It will take about ten years to honor all currently eligible presidents. The series will therefore end in 2016 after honoring President Ronald Reagan, unless one of his successors should die before 2014.Once the program has terminated, producing coins for those presidents not honored would require another Act of Congress.

Minting errors

On March 8, 2007, the United States Mint announced that, on February 15, 2007, an unknown number of George Washington Presidential $1 Coins were released into circulation without their edge inscriptions (the U.S. mottoes, "In God we trust" and "E pluribus unum", the coin's mint mark, and its year of issuance; i.e. E PLURIBUS UNUM  •  IN GOD WE TRUST  •  2007   X (where X is either P or D). Ron Guth, of the Professional Coin Grading Service, estimates that at least 50,000 coins were released without the edge inscriptions. The first such coin discovered was sold on eBay for $600, while later coins were selling for $40–$60, as of late March 2007. Because one of the inscriptions missing from the coins is the motto "In God we trust", some articles on the subject have referred to them as "Godless dollars."Counterfeit "Godless dollars" have been produced with the edge lettering filed off.

Also, John Adams Presidential Dollars have been discovered with plain edges. They are fewer in quantity than George Washington plain-edge dollars, making them rarer, thus more expensive. A more frequently encountered edge lettering error for the John Adams dollar is a coin with doubled edge lettering. This error occurs when a coin passes through the edge lettering machine twice. Most examples of the doubled-edge-letter John Adams dollar are from the Philadelphia Mint (Denver Mint issues are comparatively scarce). They are seen in two varieties: 1) with both edge lettering inscriptions reading in the same direction, called "overlapped", and 2) with the two inscriptions running in opposite directions—i.e., inverted or upside-down relative to one another—called "inverted".

In early March 2007, a Colorado couple found a dollar coin that was not stamped on either side, missing the portrait of George Washington and the Statue of Liberty.

Some of the coins have the words on the rim struck upside down (president face up). These are not minting errors, but rather a variation created by the minting process. Such upside-down coins have been sold on auction websites for greater than their face value, even though they represent roughly 50% of the minted population.

Stockpile and suspension of production

A graph showing mintages of issues minted from 2007 to 2011.

By 2011, 1.4 billion uncirculated $1 coins were stockpiled, which, if stacked flat, could reach from Los Angeles to Chicago. By 2016 this number might have reached two billion.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter recommending that the U.S. not produce any dollar coins. She was planning to introduce legislation calling for the immediate halting of all dollar coin programs.

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated that discontinuing the dollar bill in favor of the dollar coin would save the U.S. government approximately $5.5 billion over thirty years.

On December 13, 2011, Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that the minting of Presidential $1 Coins for circulation would be suspended.Future entries in the program, beginning with that of Chester A. Arthur, would be issued in reduced quantities, only for collectors.

Coin details

Dollar coins are being issued bearing the likenesses of Presidents, as follows:

President Release date Denver
Total Mintage Design In office
1 1st George Washington February 15, 2007 163,680,000 176,680,000 340,360,000 Washington dollar 1789–1797
2 2nd John Adams May 17, 2007 112,140,000 112,420,000 224,560,000 John Adams dollar 1797–1801
3 3rd Thomas Jefferson August 16, 2007 102,810,000 100,800,000 203,610,000 Jefferson dollar 1801–1809
4 4th James Madison
November 15, 2007
87,780,000 84,560,000 172,340,000 Madison dollar 1809–1817
5 5th James Monroe February 14, 2008 60,230,000 64,260,000 124,490,000 Monroe dollar 1817–1825
6 6th John Quincy Adams May 15, 2008 57,720,000 57,540,000 115,260,000 John Quincy Adams dollar 1825–1829
7 7th Andrew Jackson August 14, 2008 61,070,000 61,180,000 122,250,000 Jackson dollar 1829–1837
8 8th Martin Van Buren November 13, 2008 51,520,000 50,960,000 102,480,000 Van Buren dollar 1837–1841
9 9th William Henry Harrison February 19, 2009 43,260,000 55,160,000 98,420,000 William Henry Harrison dollar 1841
10 10th John Tyler May 21, 2009 43,540,000 43,540,000 87,080,000 Tyler dollar 1841–1845
11 11th James K. Polk August 20, 2009 41,720,000 46,620,000 88,340,000 Polk dollar 1845–1849
12 12th Zachary Taylor November 19, 2009 36,680,000 41,580,000 78,260,000 Taylor dollar 1849–1850
13 13th Millard Fillmore February 18, 2010 36,960,000 37,520,000 74,480,000 Fillmore dollar 1850–1853
14 14th Franklin Pierce May 20, 2010 38,220,000 38,360,000 76,580,000 Pierce dollar 1853–1857
15 15th James Buchanan August 19, 2010 36,540,000 36,820,000 73,360,000 Buchanan dollar 1857–1861
16 16th Abraham Lincoln November 18, 2010 48,020,000 49,000,000 97,020,000 Lincoln dollar 1861–1865
17 17th Andrew Johnson February 17, 2011 37,100,000 35,560,000 72,660,000 A. Johnson dollar 1865–1869
18 18th Ulysses S. Grant May 19, 2011 37,940,000 38,080,000 76,020,000 Grant dollar 1869–1877
19 19th Rutherford B. Hayes August 18, 2011 36,820,000 37,660,000 74,480,000 Hayes dollar 1877–1881
20 20th James A. Garfield November 17, 2011 37,100,000 37,100,000 74,200,000 Garfield dollar 1881
21 21st Chester A. Arthur February 5, 2012 2,800,000 6,020,000 8,820,000 Arthur dollar 1881–1885
22 22nd Grover Cleveland May 25, 2012 2,660,000 5,460,000 8,120,000 Cleveland 1st Term dollar 1885–1889
23 23rd Benjamin Harrison August 16, 2012 4,200,000 5,682,000 9,882,000 Harrison dollar 1889–1893
24 24th Grover Cleveland November 15, 2012 3,220,000 10,722,000 13,942,000 Cleveland 2nd Term dollar 1893–1897
25 25th William McKinley February 19, 2013 3,365,100 4,760,000 8,125,100 William McKinley 1897–1901
26 26th Theodore Roosevelt April 11, 2013 3,920,000 5,310,700 9,230,700 Theodore Roosevelt 1901–1909
27 27th William Howard Taft July 9, 2013 3,360,000 4,760,000 8,120,000 William Howard Taft 1909–1913
28 28th Woodrow Wilson October 17, 2013 3,360,000 4,620,000 7,980,000 Woodrow Wilson 1913–1921
29 29th Warren G. Harding February 6, 2014 3,780,000 6,160,000 9,940,000 Warren G. Harding 1921–1923
30 30th Calvin Coolidge April 10, 2014 3,780,000 4,480,000 8,260,000 Calvin Coolidge 1923–1929
31 31st Herbert Hoover June 19, 2014 3,780,000 4,480,000 8,260,000 Herbert Hoover 1929–1933
32 32nd Franklin D. Roosevelt August 28, 2014 3,920,000 4,760,000 8,680,000 Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933–1945
33 33rd Harry S. Truman February 5, 2015 3,500,000 4,900,000 8,400,000 1945–1953
34 34th Dwight D. Eisenhower April 13, 2015 3,640,000 3,645,998 8,545,998 Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953–1961
35 35th John F. Kennedy June 18, 2015 5,180,000 6,160,000 11,340,000 John F. Kennedy 1961–1963
36 36th Lyndon B. Johnson August 18, 2015 4,200,000 7,840,000 12,040,000 Lyndon B. Johnson 1963–1969
37 37th Richard Nixon February 3, 2016 4,340,000 5,460,000 10,000,000 Richard Nixon 1969–1974
38 38th Gerald Ford March 8, 2016 5,040,000 5,460,000 10,500,000 Gerald Ford 1974–1977
39th Jimmy Carter 1977–1981
39/40 40th Ronald Reagan July 5, 2016 5,880,000 7,140,000 13,020,000 Ronald Reagan 1981–1989
41st George H. W. Bush 1989–1993
42nd Bill Clinton 1993–2001
43rd George W. Bush 2001–2009
44th Barack Obama 2009–2017
45th Donald Trump 2017–