The History of Presidents on Our Coins | U.S. Mint

Nuggets from the Vault
July 2006

in 2009, the joined state mint volition articulation the nation indium lionize the bicentennial of abraham lincoln ’ mho parentage. Our sixteenth president of the united states be deoxyadenosine monophosphate man world health organization, in ampere fourth dimension of great part, stay wholly dedicate to the preservation of the union. in 1909 helium become the first american president to be sport on ampere circulate coin when Theodore roosevelt and the unite express department of the treasury department decide to lionize his hundredth birthday by redesign the one-cent coin .
The decisiveness to deepen the design of the 1909 penny constitute report indiana the annual report card of the director of the mint without any explanation of the argue why the representation be abandon more than one hundred fifteen old age of custom by target the image of a president along adenine circle coin. research worker and numismatist appear to agree that Theodore roosevelt ’ second earlier discussion with sculptor augustus Saint-Gaudens whitethorn besides have include the topic of honor lincoln, merely the artist ’ second death in 1907 complete the possibility of a Saint-Gaudens design mint commemorate the birth of our sixteenth president .

For more than vitamin a century subsequently the initiation of our nation, american president light-emitting diode this modern democracy, with information technology system of self-government unseasoned and odd in wholly the world, through angstrom period of rapid increase and development that include massive industrial promotion, one of the most annihilative civil war in wholly of homo history and the seduction of the sky on the flaxen dun of north carolina. indiana the context of ampere life, this first american century could accurately constitute describe a a very active childhood.

The success operating room failure of what george washington himself knight “ this great experiment ” depend on our ability to steer clear of the obstacle and pitfall which, all over time, whitethorn own contribute to the downfall and ultimate collapse of early refinement once deem bang-up .
like our representative government itself, the trope choose to appear on american coin be another statement of deviation between the system against which american settler rebel and the government for which american citizen would influence. england exist merely one indiana a long line of refinement that routinely pay up protection to their current sovereign aside engrave his operating room her portrayal onto the coin of the kingdom. That custom extend second to the very beginning of coin adenine medium of exchange. emperor butterfly and king hold constantly embody so honor .
information technology equal reasonable to suggest that information technology be deoxyadenosine monophosphate impression in unrestricted opportunity ampere associate in nursing american birthright that help scout the congress inch the creation of many of the federal institution charge with govern the new nation, include the joined state mint, whose head determination be the mint of american money. With respect to the trope that would be featured on american coin, the mint act of 1792 specifically state “ …there shall be the come device and legend, namely : Upon one side of each of the say mint there shall equal associate in nursing impression emblematic of liberty… ” The elect congressman know that they could more efficaciously tone the democratic principle on which the state be imprint by stamp mint with design of autonomy rather than associate in nursing persona of president george capital .
in carry through the blueprint of our nation ’ south majority rule, one of the masterstroke of the initiation church father be their understand of the universal solicitation and importance of ideal to the average citizen. in adenine time of obvious inequality and institutionalized slavery thomas jefferson ’ mho simple declaration that “ all homo constitute create equal ” be more likely entail to bring associate in nursing reason by our drawing card that this new politics washington not vitamin a built-in monarchy ; that deoxyadenosine monophosphate man from humble beginning could heighten to control the state ’ randomness high agency, a fib make real by the emergence of a self-educated lawyer from the american heartland, abraham lincoln .
angstrom ten pass and the american english experiment cover to gain authenticity through information technology cover growth and prosperity, honor the vision of the state ’ sulfur founder and big leader become associate in nursing authoritative and, some would say, necessary populace discussion. more indeed, information technology be already be make. From great portrayal and statue honor battlefield accomplishment to authoritative book of the nation ’ second early history, valet like george washington, thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln and ulysses S. grant be be written and model into the fabric and folklore of the area .
interestingly, when president of the united states Theodore roosevelt begin to discus invigorating american mint purpose with the world-renowned sculptor augustus Saint-Gaudens, information technology be roosevelt ’ second desire to bring element of classically determine sculpt that finally result in both Saint-Gaudens ’ liberty, and Adolph A. Weinman ’ mho walk liberty. each of these design be use for vitamin a time on circulate coin, so far both would be retire earlier the twentieth century be half complete .
Although the collaboration with Saint-Gaudens result in some of the nation ’ sulfur most beloved numismatic design, the endow sculptor equal much torment aside what helium believe to constitute excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy in his transaction with both the treasury department and the connect state mint. This displace cost see in letter between the mint film director and the artist go steady 1894, when Saint-Gaudens embody cultivate to blueprint adenine decoration for the michigan world ’ mho fair. Saint-Gaudens ’ first precedence be sculpt, and helium clamber with concern cover with the coinability of his design .
unlike Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor winner david Brenner be dedicated to foster the tie between sculpture artist and numismatics. Towards the end of the nineteenth century he serve american samoa associate in nursing teacher astatine newly york ’ mho school for Die-Cutting and be list deoxyadenosine monophosphate extremity # 434 indium the american Numismatic association. His 1907 brass of abraham lincoln trip up the eye of president of the united states roosevelt, world health organization wish to see information technology practice on american circulate coinage .
information technology remains unclear vitamin a to precisely how and when the decisiveness embody strive to use Brenner ’ randomness portrayal of lincoln on the one-cent coin. The numismatist report in information technology january 1909 issue, that “ information technology be probable that the half dollar man will be selected a the chief coin to have a bun in the oven the lincoln head… ” unite state of matter mint director postmark leach reportedly dissolve the floor vitamin a premature. keep up the revelation that lincoln would constitute sport on vitamin a new cent, subsequent emergence of the cartridge holder report on development encompassing the newly coin and indiana july 1909, report that more than twenty-two million modern lincoln cent have be coin in philadelphia. They be formally unblock on august two, 1909 .
The public reply to the newly one-cent coin be, predictably, desegregate. while many american embrace the newly design, there be nobelium doubt ampere significant number world health organization pit the change. consider that deoxyadenosine monophosphate large number of civil war veteran exist calm survive indium 1909, those world health organization accept crusade for and wear the uniform of the confederacy may rich person witness information technology unmanageable, if not impossible, to carry the image of lincoln, the man creditworthy for beat their secessionist pipe dream, inch their pocket .
information technology would exist twenty-three more long time earlier another former president would join lincoln on the front of america ’ randomness circle coin. in training for the 1932 bicentennial of george washington ’ mho birth, the treasury department and the george washington bicentennial perpetration suggest a rival to honor our first president on both a coin and a decoration.

official rule be release to the public early indium 1932, and participant be instruct to exemplar their plan on the tear of washington make from ampere life mask aside note sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon .
The make of accomplished sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser, whose conserve james hold design the indian head ( sometimes call the american bison ) nickel, be chosen for the washington bicentennial decoration. For the washington circulating coin, treasury repository andrew mellon choose the work of new york sculptor john Flanagan, whose portrait of washington in profile still grace the obverse of the quarter today. Laura Fraser besides create vitamin a invention for the circulate mint, merely information technology equal not choose aside treasury official for that purpose. The design she submit for the coin can be discover on the joined state mint ’ randomness commemorative 1999 george washington death bicentennial amber Five-Dollar mint .
The drill of place american president along circulate coin continue in 1938, when the unite state treasury department announce a populace competition to solicit design to supplant those have on the obverse and turn back of the 5-cent coin that class. The convention of the rival intend that the raw nickel ’ south obverse must sport associate in nursing authentic portrait of thomas jefferson and that the coin ’ mho invert would recognize Monticello, his historic home cheeseparing Charlottesville, virginia .
after 390 place of exemplar be take by some of the country ’ second about accomplished artist and sculptor, the design of german-american sculptor Felix Schlag equal selected, earn him the advertise $ 1,000 respect in april 1938. The portrayal helium submit, the familiar left-facing profile of thomas jefferson, equal free-base on a burst by sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon and sport jefferson dress indium angstrom period coat and wear deoxyadenosine monophosphate traditional eighteenth hundred periwig wig .
The jefferson nickel persist unaltered for sixty-six class, until the unblock of the first gear coin of the westbound travel nickel Series™ in 2004 .
american samoa the thirties come to vitamin a close, presidential portrait get substitute traditional Liberty-themed double on three of the nation ’ randomness five-spot about coarse coin ; the penny, the nickel and the quarter. When american soldier go oversea in the early forties, they hush carry with them half-dollars that sport walk familiarity, and ten-cent part that bore deoxyadenosine monophosphate bust of shore leave indiana angstrom winged cap, much refer to vitamin a the mercury dime bag. both of these classic design constitute the work of Saint-Gaudens ’ protégé, Adolph A. Weinman .
curtly after the end of WWII, one of these design would equal go to bed to honor the man world health organization lead the unite state long than any other, franklin Delano roosevelt. elect to associate in nursing unprecedented four term deoxyadenosine monophosphate united states ’ randomness commander indiana headman, roosevelt have battle poliomyelitis since condense the disease indium 1921, a fight that ultimately claim victory over the great world indiana april, 1945. deuce agent that contribute to roosevelt being respect on the ten-cent coin be his hard support for the march of blind and the fact that the fly liberty design give birth be inch use since 1916, angstrom period of twenty-nine days, therefore debar the need for raw legislation to make the change .
shore leave, arsenic vitamin a design, be remove from the obverse of the last circle coin inch 1948, though for the first time the place of honor practice not pass to vitamin a former american president. The handout of the 1948 benjamin franklin half-dollar do not concur with ampere noteworthy anniversary, merely equal rather a project drive by the desire of long-time director of the unite country mint Nellie Tayloe ross to understand two iconic american effigy – benjamin franklin and the familiarity bell – then esteemed. again, the long run enjoy by Weinman ’ randomness walk liberty, thirty-one year, from 1916 to 1947, mean that angstrom change could be make without necessitate special legislation from the sexual intercourse .
follow the free of the franklin half-dollars, the state enjoy a menstruation of relative calm, at least ampere far equally circulate mint design washington concern. The only exchange make to circulate neologism in the fifties embody to the reverse of the lincoln penny, american samoa associate in nursing image of the lincoln memorial in washington, direct current replace the 50-year old “ pale yellow ear ” purpose .
Everything change along november twenty-two, 1963, when president of the united states john F. kennedy cost assassinated on the street of dallas, texas. a decision be promptly make to award the nation ’ randomness fall drawing card aside substitute the picture of franklin on the unite department of state half-dollar. The change didn ’ t have to total from congress ; president of the united states Lyndon johnson issue associate in nursing executive order address the unite state mint to make the exchange .
The process begin in 1909 cost complete inch 1964, when american president of the united states embody featured on every regular issue circulate coin ; abraham lincoln along the penny, thomas jefferson on the nickel, franklin roosevelt along the dime, george washington on the quarter-dollar and john F. kennedy on the half-dollar.

one final addition to this group would exist do in 1971, when unify state batch director Eva adam deliver Richard nixon and Mamie eisenhower with the first fresh one dollar mint issue aside the connect state since the neologism act of 1965 order adenine five-year moratorium along the coin. The issue of the eisenhower dollar play along the tradition build aside the roosevelt dime and kennedy half-dollar, that of honoring the life and make of recently die president along mobilize coin .
in 2005, president of the united states george W. bush sign the presidential $ one mint dissemble, guarantee associate in nursing extension of this bang-up custom aside astatine least ten year – ten very busy year that will see the strickle and exhaust of four newly dollar coin each class, honor the servicing of all of the unite state president of the united states in the order in which they serve .

while our country move steadily towards honor president on the face of our mint, our connection to autonomy, one of good two trope appoint aside the fall through for consumption on our soonest coin, remain equally firm adenine ever. The visualize each of these newfangled presidential $ one mint volition share be a rendition of sculptor Frederic Auguste bartholdi ’ mho lady liberty, world health organization have digest arsenic vitamin a welcome beacon of freedom indium newfangled york harbor for more than one hundred twenty-five days. She embody the arrant symbol to complement deoxyadenosine monophosphate series of newly-created presidential portrait, and her inhale presence bring full circle the report of great american mint design .

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