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Honoring the U.S. Presidents in order of service

– The Presidential $1 Coin Act was signed into law on December 22, 2005 by President George W. Bush. Honoring four U.S. presidents per year, but limited by law to presidents deceased for at least two years before issue of a coin, the program began in 2007 with the George Washington dollar and ended in 2016 with the Ronald Reagan dollar. The series hoped to capitalize on public interest in the presidents, whose pre-White House lives, families and even jokes do generate significant interest.


Golden colored with historic edge inscriptions

Featuring a pure copper core and outer layer of manganese-brass, the golden-colored Presidential dollars are slightly larger than a quarter and depict the featured president on the obverse. The common reverse bears a dramatic image of the Statue of Liberty, and the series introduced the first edge lettering on circulating U.S. coins since the Saint-Gaudens $20 gold pieces of 1907-1933. See Presidential Dollar Designs.

For the first 8 issues of the series (George Washington to Martin Van Buren), the date of issue, mint mark and mottos e pluribus unum and in god we trust were inscribed upon the edge. However, due to public objections to the location of in god we trust, that religious motto was moved to the obverse beginning with the 2009 issues. The date, mint mark and e pluribus unum remained on the edge of the coins throughout the series.

Minting errors found on early issues

Circulation-quality Presidential dollars were produced in two steps – first receiving obverse and reverse designs from a coin press and later receiving edge inscriptions from an edge lettering machine. A quantity of early Presidential dollars missed the edge lettering process and escaped the mint undetected. These "Missing Edge Lettering" Presidential dollars command a significant premium over normal coins. A small number of coins have also been found to have missed the coin press but not the edge lettering machine. They display edge inscriptions on an otherwise blank planchet! See Presidential Dollar Error Coins.

Doubled-edge lettering has also been found on early issues on the series, occurring when coins were mistakenly run through the edge lettering machine twice. If the inscriptions read in the same direction, they are called "overlapped." If they run in opposite directions, they are upside-down to each other and are called "inverted."

Production slashed in December of 2012

Because Presidential dollars were not being used in circulation, government stockpiles of the coins kept climbing. So production for circulation was halted in December of 2011 and all issues beginning with the 2012 dollars were produced only in modest quantities for collectors. There was some mystery to the end of the series as people didn’t know whether Ronald Reagan or later presidents would be included (see The countdown begins...).

First Spouse Gold Coins complement Presidential Dollars

First Spouse coins struck in 1/2 oz. of 99.99% pure gold complemented the 2007-2016 Presidential dollars. The First Spouses were depicted on the obverse with a design symbolic of the First Spouse's life and work on the reverse. Though Presidential dollars were limited to presidents deceased at least two years, the First Spouse series included a 2016 Nancy Reagan issue just four months after her death and would have included her even if she was still alive.

Though Presidential dollars failed to gain wide acceptance in daily commerce, the 2007-2016 series has proved popular among coin enthusiasts and a complete Presidential Dollar Collection is an attractive and affordable collecting goal. See Littleton's Checklist of U.S. Coins for a complete listing of Presidential dollars.

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