Reviving the $1 coin

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The dollar coin has been a staple of U.S. currency for years, but has fallen out of favor (and use) since the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar and its successor, the golden Sacagawea has not fared much better.

The U.S. Mint, fresh from it's success with the state themed quarters, next month will launch Presidential $1 coins, starting with George Washington.

The new Presidential $1 Coin will feature the same distinguishing traits as the Golden Dollar coin, including its golden color, extra-wide border and smooth edge (indented) lettering.

After George Washington, the U.S. Mint will roll-out the next Presidential $1 Coin every three months through at least 2016. According to the schedule, Iowans will have to wait until 2014 for the U.S. Mint to release the $1 coin for the 31st president, Iowa's own Herbert Hoover. The idea is to trigger increased usage and spur collector interest.

From vending machines to bus fare, $1 coins arguable would lend greater convenience to consumers. Collectors take currency out of circulation, which actually makes money for the government.

There's no doubt that the state themed quarters, a 10 year program that will end in 2008, has been a success on a number of levels. In addition to sparking interest among a new generation of amateur coin collectors, the

program has also helped feed the curiosity of school-age children about the 50 states, no small feat. Next month, the mint will give the public a sneak peek of the first four designs featuring $1 coins honoring George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

To bolster support for the program, the U.S. Mint will feature free lesson plans starting in February regarding the coins, U.S. presidents and U.S. history for grades K-12 on its website, www.usmint.gov/kids.

If our currency can inspire learning and if putting new faces on a coin that was last widely used when Dwight Eisenhower graced its front, we wish the U.S. Mint all the best with this new program.