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Continuing in the modern dollar coins of the United States is the Presidential $1 Dollar Coin Program. It was begun in 2007 and the coins have the same manganese brass composition as the Sacagawea Dollars and the Native American Dollars. These “Golden Dollars” all have portraits of past Presidents of the United States on the obverse and a common Statue of Liberty reverse. The series ran from 2007 through 2011 for circulation issues but they did not circulate, and large numbers of coins remained unused. Between 2012 and 2016 significantly lower numbers of coins were struck and they were intended for collectors only. The program officially ended in 2016.
The coins have a Presidential Portrait on the obverse, done by numerous designers, and the Statue of Liberty reverse designed by Don Everhart.
The program began on January 1, 2007, and four Presidents a year would be honored. The requirement was that a President had to have been deceased for at least two years prior to issuing his coin. The edge of the coin is inscribed with the year of issue, the mintmark, 13 five-pointed stars and the legend “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” The coins came on the heels of the Sacagawea coins that the public shunned and it was hoped that a change of design would increase the public demand. The Mint hoped that an intended consequence of the coin program would be to educate the public on the country’s presidents and their history and inspire collectors as the State Quarter program did. It did not succeed on either count.
The 2007 Washington Dollar was not without some controversy. An unknown quantity of these coins was released into circulation without the important edge lettering. Estimates of coins with missing edge lettering could be as high as 50,000 but that it out of the nearly 177 million that were struck. Additionally, some John Adams Dollars have either doubled or missing edge lettering, but the numbers are much smaller than on the Washington Dollars.
But these Presidential Dollars didn’t fare much better than the Susan B. Anthony’s, or the Sacagawea Dollars with the public’s acceptance, so by 2011, more than 1 billion coins were stockpiled in the Treasury’s vaults. Mintages were from hundreds of million to less than 10 million in 2016 when the program officially ended. Presidents Carter, GHW Bush (now deceased), Clinton GW Bush and Obama were ineligible as they were living in 2016. To complete the set, another Act of Congress would be required to reauthorize the series and honor the Presidents deceased at least two years by the date of authorization.