History of the Presidential Dollar (continued)
The George Washington $1 coin was first available to the public on February 15, 2007, in honor of Presidents' Day, which was observed on February 19. This marked the first time since the St. Gaudens Double Eagle (1907–33) that the United States has issued a coin with edge lettering for circulation. Edge-lettered coins date back to the 1790s.
The act had been introduced because of the failure of the Sacagawea Dollar coin to gain widespread circulation in the United States. The act sympathized with the need of the nation's private sector for a $1 coin, and expected that the appeal of changing the design would increase the public demand for new coins (as the public generally responded well to the State Quarter program). The program is also intended to help educate the public about the nation's presidents and their history. Unlike the State Quarter program, which suspended the issuance of the current design during those programs, the act directed the Mint to continue to issue Sacagawea dollar coins during the presidential series. The law states that at least one in three issued dollars must be a Sacagawea dollar. Furthermore, the Sacagawea design is required to continue after the Presidential Coin program ends.
The act specifies that for a president to be honored, the former president must have been deceased for at least two years before issue. It will take about ten years to honor all currently eligible presidents. The series is therefore scheduled to end in 2016 after honoring Ronald Reagan, unless Jimmy Carter, or one of Reagan's other still-living successors, dies by 2014. Once the program has terminated, producing coins for those presidents not yet honored would require another Act of Congress.
However, Federal Reserve officials indicated to Congress that "if the Presidential $1 Coin Program does not stimulate substantial transactional demand for dollar coins, the requirement that the Mint nonetheless produce Sacagawea dollars would result in costs to the taxpayer without any offsetting benefits." In that event, the Federal Reserve indicated that it would "strongly recommend that Congress reassess the one-third requirement. The one-third requirement was later changed to one-fifth by the Native American $1 Coin Act,passed on September 20, 2007, and Sacagawea dollars were only 0.8% of the total dollar coins produced through November 2007.
Previous versions of the act called for removing from circulation dollar coins issued before the Sacagawea dollar, most notably the Susan B. Anthony dollar, but the version of the act which became law merely directs the Secretary of the Treasury to study the matter and report back to Congress. The act does require federal government agencies (including the United States Postal Service), businesses operating on federal property, and federally funded transit systems to accept and dispense dollar coins by January 2008, and to post signs indicating that they do so.
The United States is also honoring the spouses of each of the Presidents by issuing half-ounce $10 gold coins featuring their images, in the order that they served as First Spouse, beginning in 2007. To date, all first spouses have been women (often called First Ladies), but the law uses the term "First Spouse".
Current Presidential Dollar Values (courtesy of about.com)
This table will give you an estimate the value of your Presidential Dollar coins. The table provides average coin values and prices based upon the condition of the coin. If the coin shows evidence of wear on it due to being used in commerce, it considered "circulated." If it was never used, then it is classified as "uncirculated."
Current News on Presidential Dollars (courtesy of coinweek.com)
First Spouse Coins Coming Soon but Long Term Series Unclear
Probably no modern U.S. coin series divides collectors as much as the gold First Spouse coins issued by the U.S. Mint since 2007... read more »
2014 First Spouse Coin Designs Revealed
The Mint has also recently revealed the 2014 First Spouse gold coin designs that were approved by the Secretary of the Treasury.... read more »
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