In 2007, just in time for Presidents’ Day, the United States Mint is releasing a brand new one-dollar coin that honors U.S. Presidents. It's the first in the Presidential $1 Coin Program, which is modeled after the popular state quarters series.
Four new designs will come out per year, each featuring a different U.S. President. You can start your collection this year with George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison!
“Coins are history in our pocket,” said April Stafford, United States Mint education program manager. “To actually hold that coin in your hand and ask, 'Why are we honoring this President?' is a very tangible way for kids to learn about our nation.”
The Presidential $1 Coin Act was signed by President Bush on December 22, 2005. It set out all the rules for when the coins get released and who appears on them. One rule says Presidents who served more than one term get only one coin unless the terms were not consecutive (served one after the other). Can you name the one U.S. President who served two non-consecutive terms? It’s Grover Cleveland, and he’ll get two coins.
The "heads," or obverse, side of the coins will feature an image of the President, his name, the dates he served in office, and which number president he was.
The reverse, or “tails,” side will feature the Statue of Liberty. All current U.S. coins have the word "Liberty" printed on them. But the Mint decided in this case, since the picture of the statue is so big, including the word was not necessary.
Another interesting thing about the $1 coin will be its edge lettering. "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust," and the release year will be written along the side of the coins, which leaves more space on the face for a larger image of the President. Edge lettering has not been used on U.S. coins in more than 70 years. This feature will also help blind and visually impaired people figure out the coin's value more easily.
The U.S. Mint estimates more than 140 million people collect state quarters. They hope as many will begin collecting Presidential $1 coins. But what the U.S. Mint really wants is for people to use them to buy things. “This is another choice that we hope Americans will use when shopping,” says Stafford.
For more information about the Presidential $1 Coin Program, including lesson plans and other educational material, visit the United States Mint.