How to Buy Presidential Dollar Coins

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How to Buy Presidential Dollar Coins
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How to Buy Presidential Dollar Coins

The presidential dollar coin is the results of the Presidential Coin Act of 2005, enacted by Congress to mint and circulate dollar coins to honor the country’s past presidents. Each coin, worth $1, is imprinted with the head of a president of the United States. Originally the coins were minted in large numbers for circulation, but as of 2011 they are issued in small quantities for collectors. The coins are released in the historical order that the presidents served their terms.

Similar to the state quarter program, in which each of the 50 United States was featured on a quarter, with several being released annually over a period of several years, the presidential dollar coins are being released as a part of a full set. Novice collectors must search for pieces to complete the entire set. In a program such as this, not all coins are issued at once, therefore those interested in numismatics (the study or collection of currency) must wait for the release of each coin to add to their collection.

History and Details of the Program

Following the 2005 act, the first presidential dollars were released in 2007, featuring presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Four presidential dollars are issued every year, at a rate of one every three months.

In December 2011, it was announced that the Treasury Department would cease the mass production of the coins. Coins in circulation begin with George Washington and end with James Garfield,, who was featured on the last coin released in 2011. Current and future presidential dollar coins are to be released in limited quantities to collectors only, beginning with Chester A . Arthur,, in early 2012. The total mintage of the Washington coin was more than 340 million, while the total mintage of the Arthur coin was only 5.74 million.

Since 2007, 22 presidents have been imprinted on dollar coins. According to the US Mint, the current list of coins to be issued stops at Gerald Ford, whose coin will be minted in 2016. For a president to be honored, he must have been deceased for at least two years before the minting of the coin, and Jimmy Carter, who took office after Ford, is still living. However, Ronald Reagan, who followed Carter in office, is deceased, and eligible to be honored on a coin. It is not clear whether he will be honored with a coin.

The release date of the coins is as follows:

Year Released





George Washington



John Adams



Thomas Jefferson



James Madison



James Monroe



John Quincy Adams



Andrew Jackson



Martin Van Buren



William Henry Harrison



John Tyler



James K. Polk



Zachary Taylor



Millard Fillmore



Franklin Pierce



James Buchanan



Abraham Lincoln



Andrew Johnson



Ulysses S. Grant



Rutherford B. Hayes



James Garfield



Chester A. Arthur



Grover Cleveland



Benjamin Harrison



Grover Cleveland



William McKinley



Theodore Roosevelt



William Howard Taft



Woodrow Wilson



Warren Harding



Calvin Coolidge



Herbert Hoover



Franklin D. Roosevelt



Harry S. Truman



Dwight D. Eisenhower



John F. Kennedy



Lyndon B. Johnson



Richard M. Nixon



Gerald Ford

Coin Description

The presidential dollar coin value is one United States dollar. On the obverse side of the coin is an engraving of the president’s face. Above the president is his name, and below is the phrase "In God We Trust," his number in succession of the presidency, and the years of the term (or terms) served.

The opposite side of the coin features an engraving of the Statue of Liberty, an imprint of the $1 value, and the words United States of America. Along the edge of the coin is the engraved text "E Pluribus Unum," along with the mark of the Mint (D for Denver or P for Philadelphia), the year of issue, and 13 five-pointed stars.

The coins appear gold in color, and are composed of copper with manganese and brass.

Minting Errors and Variations

In 2007, the U.S. Mint announced that a number of Washington coins were released into general circulation without the inscriptions on the edge. In 2007, the Washington coins were inscribed with the mottoes "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust" in addition to the mint mark and the year of issuance.

There are two different minting errors that can be found on the John Adams coin.. The first is the same as those on the Washington coin, the missing edge inscriptions. However, there are only a few with this error, so these coins are very rare. The second error is that some Adams coins have double lettering on the edge. These coins passed through the edge-lettering machines more than once. When this happens, the lettering will either be overlapped, meaning the coin went through the machine striking it on the same side twice, or it will be inverted, indicating that the coin was struck in opposite directions.

After 2009, the words "In God We Trust" were moved to the face of the coin. The engraving around the edge, after this date, only includes the phrase "E Pluribus Unum," the Mint mark, the year of issue and the five-pointed stars. Therefore, these coins will appear differently than the coins minted prior to 2009.

A number of " upside down " presidential coins have also surfaced; however, these coins are only a variation in the engraving process, rather than an error. The edge engraving on the upside down coins can be read with the president’s face down and the Statue of Liberty side facing up. It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of the coins in circulation have this variation.

In 2007, a copy of a Washington coin was discovered without the engraving of Washington’s face or the Statue of Liberty on the opposite side. The coin did not get stamped with the face on either side, but the text was stamped on the edges and on both side of the coin with the mint mark D. No other coins with this type of minting error have surfaced.

Because the US Mint is not always aware when errors are being made, there may be 100,000 or more of a particular error that is produced before any adjustments are made. These coins are still sent out in circulation, despite the difference from the other coins. The secret to finding these less-rare error or variation coins, then, is simply knowing what to look for.


Technically, most of the presidential dollar coins are worth at least face value. However, the Treasury charges more than the face value of the coins when selling rolls and bags to the general public and to dealers. When buying the uncirculated coins directly from the US Mint, a roll of 25 coins (face value of $25) were sold prior to 2012 for $39.95 (putting the value at approximately $1.59 per coin). The price was later decreased for the 2012 coins to $32.95 (decreasing the paid value to approximately $1.31) when number of coins minted drastically decreased. The coins that were released in large amounts for circulation, and are much easier to locate, are generally not worth more than the printed value (the value associated with the coin should it be used as currency).

The most valuable coin to date is the John Adams coin that is missing lettering. Currently it is priced at $156. A value of $49 was placed on the John Adams coin with double lettering and the most valuable Washington coin, missing the edge lettering, is valued at $48. The remaining presidential dollar coins that have been released range from $1.50 to $3.60 in value.

As with any coin collection, finding the rare anomalies is key to creating a collection with a higher value. In most cases, the rarer the coin, the higher the value. Since the presidential coin program is still relatively new, it is difficult to discern which coins may increase in value over time, although it is likely that the coins with lower mint productions, and those with variations or minting errors are the best place to start. As with any type of coin collection, these are the types of coins that tend to increase in value over time.

Finding the Coins

Rummaging through the change in your wallet may not yield the most effective search for presidential dollar coins. Odds are that you may encounter any one of the first 20 issued, as they are all in general circulation; however, finding the Chester Arthur coin and those that follow, may prove to be more challenging. Because the Treasury drastically reduced the number of coins minted after the first 20 presidents, it is virtually impossible to encounter them in circulation (this means someone would have purchased the coin and used it at a lower premium than paid) and banks do not have rolls of those coins.

Where to Buy

As new presidential coins are released, the latest coins can be purchased through the US Mint. However, for past coins, unless you’ve encountered them in general circulation, you will have to go through a coin or antiques dealer, or another collector. Although there are collectibles shops and antique retail stores in most towns, perusing your local coin shop may not yield the most fruitful return, as inventory is generally limited. Alternately, you can contact your bank. Since the first 20 coins were stockpiled at the Mints, it is possible that your bank has rolls in stock.

Another solution may be to search for the presidential dollar coins in a location where you might scrutinize the inventories of more than one dealer at once. A variety of dealers can be found on online, including in eBay’s Collectibles portal. The exposure to a wide selection of dealers will enable you to freely browse and determine which coins would best fit your collection.

Buying in Bulk

The coins with errors and variations are, of course, the most difficult to find, due to their rarity and subsequent value. You can buy them directly, or you can take your chances on a treasure hunt by buying coins in bulk. Because coin dealers and collectors have the opportunity to buy coins in larger amounts than the general public, they will, in turn, sell the coins by roll or bag. It is very possible that they have not sifted through these rolls or bags for the error coins or rare coins, and you may stumble upon a fantastic find.

Before You Buy

Before making any Presidential Dollar coin purchases, be sure to examine a variety of listings from multiple dealers for the same coin helps to compare prices of the same coin in similar, as well as different, conditions, and to gauge the coin’s availability. It’s also a good idea to consult at least one coin pricing guide.

Coins will be available as individual pieces, sets, and rolls, and it’s a good idea to look for those encapsulated and certified by a grading organization such as Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

You should also examine the coin, even if you aren’t an experienced coin grader. Take a magnifying glass and carefully examine the details, and compare them to information found in coin guides and to images from the US Mint. Should anything on the coin appear out of the ordinary, consult the error or variation list for that coin.

Buying the Coins on eBay

To find presidential coins on eBay, start in the Collectibles section and select Coins and Paper Money.. From there, select Coins : US,, and then Dollars,, and Presidential (2007- Now ).. From there, the coins are arranged by year of issue. From this point, peruse the various dollar coin listings. Browsing the selections will lead the collector to any and all presidential dollar coins that are available at that given time. The option for Mixed Lots in the presidential dollar coin section contains listings for multiple coins or rolls of coins of more than one president.

When searching for specific coins, it may be more effective to use a keyword search. For example, you can search for a "Washington error dollar&" or a "John Adams missing lettering&" coin simply by typing the phrase into the search bar on any eBay page.

Should your search for a specific presidential coin not produce any listings, save your search and you will receive an email notification when listings fitting the specific search criteria are posted.

When you have found a coin you want to buy, review all of the details provided by the seller. Any minting errors would be mentioned, as well as date of issue, originating Mint, and whether the coin was ever in circulation. Check the seller’s return policy before agreeing to purchase. If for any reason the coin is found not to be authentic, you’ll want to have the option to return the coin. Should you have any questions about the condition or origin of the coin, contact the seller directly.

Once you’ve agreed to purchase, complete the transaction entirely within eBay, using approved eBay payment methods, such as PayPal. These methods are considered safer than other methods, and are covered by the eBay Buyer Protection policy.


It literally took an act of Congress to generate an interest in coin collecting burgeoning with numismatic novices. The presidential dollar coins make a good starter collection for a novice, but also appeal to broad range of seasoned collectors. As the buying and collecting of presidential dollar coins continues to increase in popularity, it is beneficial to know the best places to shop, ways to conduct proper research, and methods for determining which pieces to snatch up to effectively grow a collection.

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