The Presidential Dollar Coin series is a new type of regular, circulating dollar, issued by the U.S. Mint beginning in 2007. These dollar coins are made on the same planchets as the Sacagawea Golden Dollars, with one important difference - they have edge lettering! The Presidential Dollars are being issued at the rate of four per year until all of the U.S. Presidents have been featured, currently expected to be the year 2016. Presidents who had more than one consecutive term will only get one coin, but the one President who served two non-consecutive terms, Grover Cleveland, will be featured twice. Living presidents will not be coined; Presidents must be deceased for two years before they are eligible.
2010 Presidential Dollar Release Dates
The George Washington coin, the first in the series, was issued on February 15, 2007. The Lincoln Presidential Dollar was released in late 2010, and should not be confused with the Lincoln Commemorative Dollar issued in February of 2009.
The release dates for the 2010 Presidential Dollars were as follows:
- Millard Fillmore - February 18
- Franklin Pierce - May 20
- James Buchanan - August 19
- Abraham Lincoln - November 18
The Concept of Liberty on the New Dollars
When Congress passed the bill that mandated the issuance of the Presidential Dollar coins, it decided that the word LIBERTY could be aptly represented by including the Statue of Liberty as a design element on the reverse of all of the Presidential Dollar coins. Congress wanted to make more room on the coin for images, so the portraits would be larger and more engaging. Therefore, for the first time ever on U.S. circulating coinage, the word LIBERTY does not appear!
The Presidential Dollars Feature Edge Lettering
In keeping with congress' desire to have more prominent imagery on the new dollar coins, the Presidential Dollars have incused (recessed) lettering around the edges of the coin. The inscriptions "In God We Trust" and "E Pluribus Unum" are spelled out around the edge of the 2007 and 2008 coins, in addition to the date of minting and the mintmark. In 2009, by popular and congressional demand, the motto "In God We Trust" was moved back to the obverse ("heads" side) of the coins.
The edge lettering is being applied randomly with regard to whether it faces up or down on the business strike coins, after the coins are struck. The business strike coins (which are normally circulating issues) travel in little trays along a conveyor belt that leads them into the edge lettering prep machine, which lines them up in whichever way the coins happen to enter the process (heads up or down.) Then the coins roll through a device that inscribes the edge lettering. It is expected that in the end, heads-up edge lettering should be about equal in number to coins which receive "tails-up" edge lettering.
The edge lettering for the Proof coins is being done with a specially-designed three-part collar that will always (hopefully) ensure that the edge lettering faces upward.
Prior to the Presidential Dollars, U.S. circulating coins hadn't had edge lettering since 1933, so it is causing a lot of interest now that edge lettering has resumed, especially in light of all of the Presidential Dollar error coins being found.
Because of the edge lettering now being applied to some coins, in 2007 the U.S. Mint redesigned the packaging for its various Mint Sets and Proof Sets so people can see the edges of the coins through the holders.
The Obverse and Reverse of the Presidential Dollars
The congressional legislation that mandates the Presidential Dollar series directs the Mint to place the "name and likeness" of a U.S. President on the obverse of the coin, plus the dates he served in office, and his numerical place in the line. The reverse bears a "dramatic representation of Liberty" (in the form of the Statue of Liberty) that extends to the rim of the coin, but without giving the appearance of a two-headed coin.
Presidential Dollar Mintage Figures
The total number of coins minted for the Presidential Dollars issued thus far are as follows (pretty much evenly divided between the Philadelphia and Denver Mints):
- Washington - 340,360,000
- Adams - 224,560,000
- Jefferson - 203,610,000
- Madison - 172,340,000
- Monroe - 124,490,000
- John Q. Adams - 115,260,000
- Jackson - 122,250,000
- Van Buren - 102,480,000
- William Henry Harrison - 98,420,000
- John Tyler - 87,080,000
- James K. Polk - 88,340,000
- Zachary Taylor - 78,260,000
- Millard Fillmore - 74,480,000
- Franklin Pierce - 76,580,000
- James Buchanan - 73,360,000
- Abraham Lincoln - Pending
The legislation which created the Presidential Dollar series requires that the Mint continue striking the current Sacagawea Dollars, for the sake of continuity, at a minimum of 20% of the total $1 coins stuck each year. Beginning in 2009, the Sacagawea Dollar has an annually changing commemorative reverse type honoring Native Americans. In addition, the Sacagaweas now have the same edge lettering that Presidential Dollars get.
Presidential $1 Coin Direct Ship Program
In order to promote circulation of the Presidential $1 coins, in Spring of 2008 the U.S. Mint created a program where people can buy the coins at face value through the mail. There are no shipping charges, either, so if you can't find Presidential Dollars at your local banks, the $1 Coin Direct Ship Program is your answer.
In January of 2009, the Mint added the Sacagawea Dollars to the Direct Ship Program.