The Dollar Coin Through the Ages

The US dollar is one of the most recognized coin denomination in the country. In the past, the dollar coin has not been so popular with the people since the dollar bill still held its sway over the masses. But later on, finding it more appropriate for daily cash transactions, it has steadily gained acceptance. The dollar coin is already being used not only in the US but also in other countries around the world.

The US dollar was officially adopted as legal currency through the Coinage Act of 1792. It was adopted from the coins issued in New York which was then called Dutch New Netherland Colony. Called the lion dollar, it was popular in the area as a currency and was subsequently circulated in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century in the rest of the colonies.

The weight and make of the early dollar was similar to the Spanish dollar and was circulated in Post-American Revolutionary War United States. The dollars originally contained gold and silver in varying degrees of purity. It was then made into a means of currency in buying and selling goods. There were several dollars then minted to become legal tender in the United States, some of the more famous ones are the following.

Morgan Dollar
The Moran dollar was named after its designer George T. Morgan. A silver dollar, it was struck from 1878 to 1904. A special mint was also produced in 1921. The dollar showed Lady Liberty’s profile in the obverse and the Eagle holding arrows and an olive branch on the reverse. Morgan’s monogram can be found on the obverse of the coin. The minting of the Morgan dollar was stopped in 1904 due to a lack of silver reserves that allowed for the melting of the coins to yield silver bullion.

Eisenhower Dollar
The Eisenhower dollar was minted in honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower who passed way in 1969. It was also created to commemorate the moon landings in the same year. Issued in 1971, it was in legal circulation until 1979. The obverse portion showed the profile of President Eisenhower and the reverse side featured the Apollo 11 Mission. It was designed by Frank Gasparro.

Susan B. Anthony Dollar
The year the Eisenhower coin was stopped from circulation, the Susan B. Anthony dollar replaced it with a commemorative stamp also issued along with the new dollar. It featured the women’s suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony who died in 1906. The reverse of the coin showed the eagle landing on the moon with the earth in the background. Frank Gasparro also designed this coin.

The Anthony dollar was minted until 1981 and was suppose to be hendecagonal but the vendo-machine owners protested this change because they would need to make expensive refitting of their machine which can only recognize round coins. The plan was abandoned compromising with a round shape but with the hendecagonal border. The coin was not popular and when the US Treasury stopped production, there were still millions of coins left in their vaults.

Silver Eagle
The silver eagle is literally, made of 99.9 percent silver. It is authorized to be issued by the US Mint and was first minted on November 24, 1986. There are three mints produced for this design: the first is the Philadelphia mint; the second, the San Francisco mint and the West Point mint made in New York. The obverse of the coin is a 1916 design by Adolph Weinman featuring Lady Liberty walking. The reverse shows a John Mercanti’s design of the Eagle with the shield. It is still being minted until today.

Sacagawea Dollar
Released in 2000, the dollar portrays the Native American Indian Sacagawea who was translator and tracker for the Lewis and Clarke expeditions. Her son Jean Baptiste is carried on a sling around her back. The reverse shows the American Eagle in flight. The purpose of the dollar was to replace the Susan B. Anthony coins which were confused with the American quarters. The Sacagawea dollar was then given a smoother edge to help ease the confusion. But the coin was unpopular with the public and production was stopped in 2002 because of the low demand for them.

Presidential Dollar
Senator John Sununu introduced championed the Presidential $1 Coin Program which was passed as an act of Congress in 2005. It calls for the engraving of four presidents for one year on a three-month cycle for all the US presidents in chronological order. The reverse shows the Statue of Liberty. The program may end before all the presidents are honored because the rule only allows for the minting of the President’s face if he has been dead for two years prior. At the moment, The United States is still using the John Quincy Adams Presidential dollar.