So, if it wasn’t clear from my previous post and eBay Guide on the US State Quarters Program, I like to collect coins. As a result, I tend to follow bulletins from the US Mint with a little more interest than average.
Looks like November 20 is the day that the US Mint will take the wraps off the designs of the first four Presidential dollar coins.
For those of you unfamiliar with the program, the basic idea is that the US Government will be producing special versions of the $1 coin, one for each President of the United States. Four coins will be produced every year, finishing out the program in 2017 or so. The reason the ending is vague is because they will not produce a coin for any living President, so the question is whether or not any currently living (or upcoming) Presidents make it to 2016.
You can read a really nice writeup of the program here on Wikipedia.
This program was put into place by the Predential $1 Coin Act of 2005, which also brought us the first 24K US Bullion Gold coin, the American Buffalo.
The US Mint is starting to think more like a business, and given the incredible success of the 50 State Quarter Program, it was inevitable that someone would do the math on how much the government makes printing money that people like to collect instead of spend.
Although the US Mint runs a risk of “collector fatigue” if they play this card too much, I think this program will be a lot of fun for several reasons:
- A dollar is worth collecting. American coins haven’t really kept up with inflation. When a candy bar at the supermarket is $0.99, even small kids know that pennies may not get you very far. A dollar is still substantial, and it should attract some interest from kids who might tie a pile of dollar coins to some significant savings.
- A reason to learn history. Learning the 50 States is fun. Learning about the US Presidents will have additional depth because each one represents a length of time in US history.
- Gotta have them all! The most valuable proof set in a long time has been the 1999 Silver Proof Set – the first to offer the state quarters, before people realized how popular this program would be. Minting four new coins a year ensures a variety of collectible sets, and rewards for people who have the patience to collect through the entire program. Nothing gets collector blood pumping than the idea that there is an entire set of variations to collect.
I think the US Mint is getting a little greedy by printing up “companion gold coins” of each first lady. I’m not sure most people even know most of the first ladies through history, let alone want to pay for them in solid gold form.
Still, you know I’ll have my orders in place for these coins. I’ll likely be buying some for myself, and some to sell on eBay to help fund my collection.
Go check out the US Mint on November 20th for the new designs. The first year will be:
- George Washington
- John Adams
- Thomas Jefferson
- James Madison
It’s going to be exciting… in a coin collecting sort-of way.
Update (11/20/2006): The day has come… please see my new post on the unveiling of the first four designs at the US Mint:
Update (12/27/2006): I’ve posted additional details about the new First Spouse coin program
Update (02/15/2007): The dollars are here! Here is my first day coverage