Sacagawea Golden Dollar
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The former Presidents of the United States are being honored on a new series of circulating commemorative dollar coins. The Presidential Dollar Program began in 2007 with the first four issues of the series honoring George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. The series will continue until at least 2016 honoring all of the former deceased presidents. This is the third attempt by the United States Mint to produce a series of small size circulating dollar coins.
The Mint first produced a small size dollar coin in 1979. The coin featured Susan B. Anthony, a famous figure in the women's rights movement. The coins were slightly larger than a quarter dollar and metallic silver in color. The coins were immediately unpopular with the public because they could easily be mistaken for quarter dollar coins. The coins were struck for circulation only during 1979 and 1980. Special issues for collectors were produced in 1981 and 1999.
The second attempt came in the year 2000 with the Sacagawea Dollar. The US Mint specifically tried to address the main problem with the prior series. To overcome the similarity with the quarter dollar coin, the Mint used an alloy of manganese and brass. This gave the coins a unique golden color. The coins also featured a smooth edge, as opposed to the quarter's reeded edge. Despite the improvements coins still did not circulate widely. They were produced for circulation for two years in 2000 and 2001. From 2002 to date, the Sacagawea Dollar coins have been produced for special coin collector sets only.
The latest series of dollar coins known as the Presidential Dollars seems to be an attempt to mimic the format of the popular State Quarter series. Instead of a single design, coins feature a series of rotating designs. Four different obverse designs are released each year featuring a different United States President in the order served. The coins have the same composition and golden appearance as the prior Sacagawea Dollar series.
One unique feature of the Presidential Dollar series is the incuse edge lettering. Each coin features the year of mintage, mint mark, and mottoes "In God We Trust" and "E Pluribus Unum" impressed on the edge of each coin.
Will this new dollar gain widespread circulation? The United States Mint is taking many steps to spur adoption by the public. So far this has included a special program to distribute the coins at face value and a public relations campaign launched in several major cities. Ultimately, the public will form its own opinion, but if history is a guide, this will be another small size dollar coin which does not see significant circulation.
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Sacagawea Golden Dollar