White Gold

Flush with the success of the U.S. State Quarters series, the mint is looking to finally conquer the challenge that has so far defeated it: making a dollar coin people will use.

Presidents, Well Known or Not, Will Have Their Day on a Dollar

The United States Mint is unveiling four designs for one-dollar coins today, featuring likenesses of the first four presidents. They begin a series that is to last a decade and portray every deceased president.

The first coin, displaying George Washington on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other, will go into circulation in mid-February, in time for Presidents’ Day. After that, coins with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison will be issued at three-month intervals.

Here are the designs for the new coins:

What’s interesting is, just the other day, inspired by this video, I was lamenting that all our coins suck and I’d love to have some awesome chunky coins. Lo, here’s almost my wish!

You may recall that the last time our country tried this was the Sacagawea dollar. For some reason, people never took to this coin, and the mint is hoping to avoid a similar problem with the Presidollars:

The size, color and metal content of the $1 coins will be identical to those of the current Sacagawea dollars, but their luster should last longer because of a new anti-tarnishing compound that will be applied to blank coins between the time they are annealed, or softened by heating, and struck with the design.

So it looks like they solved that aesthetic problem of having the gold finish tarnish easy, making the coin unattractive. Let’s hope that also solves the problem of Americans, in general, not being crazy about dollar coins. (I used to be one of those who felt that a dollar coin was a solution to a problem we didn’t have, but I’ve been shown the light and would welcome some good solid coinage.)

They also solved the problem of not having a dead white guy be on the coin. Ms. Anthony and Ms. Gawea both failed to excite the public, so the mint’s back to what it does best…putting the same white guys on the money. You’ll never go poor at the U.S. Mint if you can draw a good Thomas Jefferson! You know, other countries don’t limit their money designs to just their past leaders. Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of honoring the same people over and over, we threw some honor to other people who happened to be great Americans, if not Presidents?

You wanna give me a dollar coin I’d really look forward to having? Give me this one:

I have a dream that someday we’ll realize that there are people out there who deserve honor more than William Henry Harrison.

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5 Responses to White Gold

  1. David Thiel says:

    King would also be my first choice for a new coin. Honestly, while I appreciated the break from dead white guys, I thought Sacagawea was an odd selection. It struck me as a case of people trying too hard to pull in the opposite direction.

    I would love to see a dollar coin finally take off. The Susan B. Anthony was hampered by an egregiously poor design, but I’ve never understood why Sacagawea wasn’t more widely accepted. I love those rare occasions when I receive one in change. That Wikipedia article makes a good point: they should’ve removed the paper dollar from circulation at the same time.

  2. pronoblem says:

    I vote for Bucky Fuller & Sun Ra…

  3. bryant. says:

    They should have Tecumseh on the obverse of the William Henry Harrison coin (WH Harrison was the general who smashed Tecumseh’s rebellion during the War of 1812; and by smashed I mean “tricked and needlessly slaughtered”) so that the two can forever be linked in American history.

    I’d like to see a heroes of civil liberties series of coins: Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison…

  4. I’d like to see Sid Sackson and some of his popular games on our money.

    Nah, just screwin’ with ya.

    +1 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., instead.

  5. Ken Lowery says:

    Here’s why the first time around failed: because paper dollars were kept in circulation. Why would anyone switch if Old Faithful was still out there?

    Just do it like Canada did with the $1 coin and the Loony. Remove the paper dollar when you introduce the coins.