P is for Presidents

When I (mostly) finished collecting the state quarters (I STILL need a Kentucky D and some of the 2009 quarters), I decided to start collecting the new United States Mint Presidential One Dollar Coins. Actually, they are not that new. The series actually began in 2007 with the first four Presidents, then in 2008 with Presidents 5 through 8. The most recent one I have is for James K. Polk, #11, with Zachary Taylor still to come in 2009.

It occurred to me that, for some of these Presidents, these coins may be be their first appearance on American money. Apparently, the government and/or the people were resistant to putting real, specific people on its currency and coinage. Prior to 1909, when Abraham Lincoln first appeared on the penny (one cent), in commemoration of the centennial of the 16th President’s birth, there was an “Indian head” penny. Likewise it was the buffalo head nickel (five cents) prior to 1938, when it changed to 3rd President Thomas Jefferson; Lady Liberty dime (10 cents) before 1946, when Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd President, appeared the year after he died; and Standing Liberty quarter (25 cents) before 1932, when the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth was celebrated.

The portraits that appear on paper currency were adopted in 1929. Initially, it was determined to use portraits of Presidents, but the Secretary of the Treasury altered the plan to include Alexander Hamilton ($10 bill), who was the first Secretary of the Treasury; Salmon P. Chase ($10,000), who was Secretary of the Treasury during the Civil War and “is credited with promoting our National Banking System”; and Benjamin Franklin ($100 bill), who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. U.S. bills are sometimes known as dead Presidents; while one must be dead to appear on U.S. money or stamps, not all of them have to be Presidents. Not incidentally, denominations of $500 and higher were discontinued in 1969, in large part because of fears about counterfeiting.

NOT a President
The Presidents

1. George Washington – quarter, $1 bill
2. John Adams – as far as I can determine, the Presidential $1 coin is his first appearance. This was one of the founders. Why didn’t HE show up on the $2 bill instead of his sometimes rival?
3. Thomas Jefferson – nickel, $2 bill, which was discontinued for a time, and not widely found
4. James Madison – $5000 bill
5. James Monroe, 6. John Quincy Adams – just the 2008 Presidential coin
7. Andrew Jackson – $20 bill, though there are some who would like to see him off the bill
8. Martin Van Buren – just the 2008 Presidential coin
9. William Henry Harrison, 10. John Tyler, 11. James K. Polk, 12. Zachary Taylor – just the 2009 Presidential coin
13. Millard Fillmore, 14. Franklin Pierce, 15. James Buchanan – just the 2010 Presidential coin
16. Abraham Lincoln – penny, $5 bill, Illinois state quarter. There is also a 2009 Lincoln commemorative silver dollar in honor of the bicentennial of HIS birth, separate from the Presidential coin coming out next year.
17. Andrew Johnson – just the 2011 Presidential coin
18. Ulysses S. Grant – $50 bill
19. Rutherford B. Hayes, 20. James Garfield – just the 2011 Presidential coin
21. Chester A. Arthur, 23. Benjamin Harrison – just the 2012 Presidential coin

22 & 24. Grover Cleveland (won in non-consecutive terms) – $1000 bill
25. William McKinley – $500 bill
26. Theodore Roosevelt – just the 2013 Presidential coin. Although, now that I think of it, since TR, along with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, appear on Mount Rushmore, and Rushmore is on the South Dakota state quarter, I suppose that should count in each of their tallies.
27. William Howard Taft – just the 2013 Presidential coin
28. Woodrow Wilson – $100,000 bill; this note never appeared in general circulation, and was only used in transactions between Federal Reserve Banks

29. Warren G. Harding, 30. Calvin Coolidge, 31. Herbert Hoover – just the 2014 Presidential coin
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt – dime (10 cents)
33. Harry S. Truman – just the 2015 Presidential coin
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower – $1 coin, 1971-1978
35. John F. Kennedy – half dollar (50 cents)
36. Lyndon B. Johnson – just the 2015 Presidential coin
37. Richard M. Nixon, 38. Gerald R. Ford, 39. James Carter, 40. Ronald Reagan – just the 2016 Presidential coin. BUT the Carter coin will be postponed unless he had died two years before its issuance. This is also true of the Class of 2017:
41. George H. W. Bush, 42. William J. Clinton, 43. George W. Bush, 44. Barack Obama
Here’s an interesting link to Presidents on postage stamps.


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