Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Presidential Golden DollarsClick here to see part II of this guide.
Starting in 2007, the US Mint begins the series of Presidential Golden Dollars honoring each of the United States' Presidents. This page is dedicated to collecting everything there is to know about the series, and to chronicle the history of the U.S. Presidential Golden Dollar
The U.S. Mint Reveals the New Presidential Golden Dollar
On November 20, 2006 United States Mint Director Edmund C. Moy; Louise Roseman, Director of Reserve Bank Operations and Payments Systems at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; and other Federal officials provided a first glimpse of a new series of circulating Presidential $1 Coins at a design unveiling ceremony held today at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.
The $1 coins were introduced as a result of the Presidential Coin Act of 2005, which requires the United States Mint to mint the dollar coins commemorating the service of former United States Presidents in the order in which they served.
Like the United States Mint's successful 50 State Quarters Program on which it was modeled, the Presidential $1 Coin Program features a systematically rotating design. The first four $1 coins commemorate George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Director Moy stated "The new Presidential $1 Coins are an educational and fun way to learn about former Presidents; our research indicates that, like the 50 State Quarters coins, the Presidential $1 Coins will be popular with millions of Americans."
According to a study commissioned by the United States Mint, about half of all Americans are interested in collecting the Presidential $1 Coins - but their appeal does not end with collecting.
"Congress recognized that the 50 State Quarters Program showed how a systematically changing design can spark public interest in a coin and we're hoping to build on that success," Director Moy said.
Traditional Subjects, Unique Design
The designs of the coins are bold and dramatic, with traditional inscriptions moved to the edge to allow for larger images of the Presidents. These include "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust," the year of minting or issuance, and the mint mark, making these coins unique among today's U.S. circulating coins.
The new Presidential $1 Coins are identical in color and size to the Sacagawea Golden Dollar Coins, and have the same distinctive rim and tactile features to assist the visually impaired. Additionally, the new $1 coins carry the same electromagnetic signature as both the Sacagawea Golden Dollar coin and the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, making them readily acceptable in vending machines that currently accept dollar coins.
The face of each coin will feature an image of a former President and the years of his term of office. The reverse of the coin shows an image of the Statue of Liberty and the inscriptions "The United States of America" and "$1."
Distributed through Banks and Other Financial Institutions
The United States Mint and the Federal Reserve System work in partnership to make it easy for businesses and members of the general public to obtain the new coins as they are released. The Presidential $1 Coins will be shipped to banks and other financial institutions in rolls, unmixed with other dollar coins. For each new design, banks may order and store the coins up to two weeks prior to the introduction so they will have supplies on hand on the release date. The coins will be available in unmixed rolls for four weeks after the introduction of each design. When each new Presidential $1 Coin is released, the special ordering process begins again.
Presidential Golden Dollar Proof Sets
In addition to the regular Presidential Golden Dollar strikes, the U.S. mint releases a corresponding number of proof Presidential Golden Dollars.
Bearing the same design features as their uncirculated Presidential Golden Dollar counterparts, the proof coins are extraordinarily brilliant, with sharp relief and a mirror-like background. Their frosted, sculpted foregrounds give them a special cameo effect. Proof blanks are specially treated, polished and cleaned to ensure high quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with hand-polished dies and struck at least twice to ensure sharp relief. The coins are then packaged in presentation cases to showcase and maintain their exceptional finish.
While the regular Presidential Golden Dollars struck at the US Mints in Denver and Philadelphia bear the D and P mint marks, the proof Presidential dollars are struck at the US Mint in San Francisco; they bear the S mint mark.
Presidential Dollar Coin Release Schedule
Each President will be honored with a single $1 coin, regardless of the number of consecutive terms he served. Grover Cleveland, the only United States President to serve non-consecutive terms, is honored on two coins. No living former or current President can be honored on a coin.
1 George Washington 1789-1797
2 John Adams 1797-1801
3 Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809
4 James Madison 1809-1817
5 James Monroe 1817-1825
6 John Quincy Adams 1825-1829
7 Andrew Jackson 1829-1837
8 Martin Van Buren 1837-1841
9 William Henry Harrison 1841
10 John Tyler 1841-1845
11 James K. Polk 1845-1849
12 Zachary Taylor 1849-1850
13 Millard Fillmore 1850-1853
14 Franklin Pierce 1853-1857
15 James Buchanan 1857-1861
16 Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865
17 Andrew Johnson 1865-1869
18 Ulysses S. Grant 1869-1877
19 Rutherford B. Hayes 1877-1881
20 James A. Garfield 1893-1897
21 Chester A. Arthur 1881-1885
22 Grover Cleveland 1885-1889
23 Benjamin Harrison 1889-1893
24 Grover Cleveland 1893-1897
25 William McKinley 1897-1901
26 Theodore Roosevelt 1901-1909
27 William H. Taft 1909-1913
28 Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921
29 Warren Harding 1921-1923
30 Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929
31 Herbert Hoover 1929-1933
32 Franklin Roosevelt 1933-1945
33 Harry S Truman 1945-1953
34 Ike Eisenhower 1953-1961
35 John F. Kennedy 1961-1963
36 Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969
37 Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974
Presidential Golden Dollar Edge Lettering Position A vs. Position B
Among business strike Presidential 1$ Golden Coins, there is variation in the orientation of the edge lettering. This variation has been described as Position A vs. Position B.
Position A - Edge lettering reads upside-down when the President's portrait faces up
Position B - Edge lettering reads normally when the President's portrait faces up
Godless Smoothie Errors
With the release of the first Washington Presidential Golden Dollar, collectors were abuzz with the possibility of finding error coins, and they did.
The first Presidential Golden Dollar error to be discovered related to the distinctive edge lettering - some coins were discovered to have this feature missing. These coins have been affectionately dubbed "smoothies."
Such errors are also referred to as "Godless Dollars" because the motto "In God We Trust" which normally surrounds the edge is missing.
To prevent further coin production defects, the Mint modified its processes and added more quality-control inspections at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints earlier this year. Production equipment was moved to keep coins without edge lettering separate from finished coins with the edge lettering, and color-coded bins are used for holding finished coins. Nevertheless, reports of Godless Dollars persist.
Double Lettering Errors
Another error that shows up among Golden Presidential dollars has to do with too much edge lettering rather than none.
Particularly with the release of the John Adams Presidential Golden Dollar, coins are found that have double lettering on the edge.
First Spouse Gold Coins
As a counterpart to the Presidential Golden Dollar series, the mint also issues limited numbers of First Spouse Gold coins that correspond to the yearly release of the Presidential Dollars.
Each of these First Spouse coins are one-half ounce, $10 24-karat Gold First Spouse Coins minted and released annually in the order the spouses served in the White House. The coins are minted in proof and uncirculated condition and are available individually.
Among collectors, these coins are wildly popular and often are ironically referred to as "hags."
George Washington Presidential Golden Dollar
Released February 15, 2007
The first Presidential $1 Coin released in 2007 honors the United States' first President, George Washington. The George Washington $1 Coin features a likeness of George Washington on the obverse and a reverse design featuring a striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty. This coin features larger, more dramatic artwork, as well as edge-incused inscriptions of the year of minting (or issuance), "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust," and the mint mark.
John Adams Presidential Golden Dollar
Released May 17, 2007
The second in the Presidential $1 Coin Program, honors President John Adams. Elected by a margin of just three electoral votes (71-68), John Adams was the first President to live in the White House. On his second evening in its damp, unfinished rooms, he wrote to his wife, "Before I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof." The John Adams $1 Coin features a likeness of Adams on the obverse and a reverse design with a striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty. This coin features larger, more dramatic artwork, as well as edge-incused inscriptions of the year of minting or issuance, "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust," and the mint mark.
Click here to see part II of this guide.