The first coin in the Presidential Dollar series honors George Washington, who served for two terms, from 1789-1797. When I saw this drawing, I wasn't sure what to expect when the actual coin came out. After a lifetime of seeing the ill-defined coin portrait of Washington on the U.S. Quarter, (although the re-engraving of Washington's hair in 1999 was a big help,) seeing the artwork for the Washington Presidential Dollar was almost shocking.
Americans aren't used to seeing such lifelike effigies of their national heroes on the coinage. Until the Jefferson Nickel Westward Journey commemorative series, we didn't even have forward facing portraits of our presidents. Although Sacagawea was depicted three-quarters face forward, how would Americans respond to having Washington, a man who was reputed to have never told a lie, looking boldly out at them from their dollar coins?