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Change Law to Expand Presidential Set
March 21, 2012



I think the law authorizing the Presidential dollars needs to be changed to expand the set to include the President and living former Presidents.

Why?

Production of Presidential dollars for circulation was ordered suspended in December. All 2012 and later designs will see mintages of 5 million or 6 million pieces, a level established with the 2012 Chester A. Arthur coins.

This puts a sort of gray-area status on the dollar coins. They are no longer circulating coins, though we will continue to call them that for lack of a more convenient name.

The Presidential dollar coins have become more on the order of commemorative coins, but they are not that either, much to the relief of collectors who would not want to pay additional surcharges attached to the sale prices.

However, collectors will still have to buy them directly from the Mint to obtain them as they do Kennedy half dollars with the current date.

Since the coins are now being tailor-made for collectors, I think the rules of the game should be modified to satisfy the basic desire of collectors to obtain complete sets.

The authorizing legislation forbids the creation of a Presidential dollar for any living President or former President.

This was a debatable restriction on the set when it was mandated by Congress, but now that the coins will only be sold to collectors, why should we continue to live with it?

Ask Congress to pass a housekeeping measure to remove the restriction limiting the size of the set to those former Presidents who have been deceased for more than two years at the time their coin is struck.

Why shouldn’t collectors have a full set if they want one? They are paying for the privilege.

If numismatics is educational for children, why shouldn’t they learn about all of the officeholders right through to the incumbent?

Collectors are now reduced to a ghoulish speculation as to whether any living ex-President might pass on and thereby increase the number of coins in the set.

Even a deceased former President cannot qualify if a former President who served before him still lives.

If a portrait of a living Eunice Shriver could be put on a commemorative silver dollar in 1994 for her work with Special Olympics, why should not living former Presidents be put on a collector-only set of dollar coins?

Give Jimmy Carter, the late Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama their place in the set and authorize the addition of dollar coins to the set as others are elected to the Presidential office.

Also, the companion First Spouse gold coins and medals sets should also then be expanded.

Will these changes make Americans more likely to want to use Presidential or other dollar coins?

Of course not. But that’s a point we no longer need to consider for these coins.

We can simply focus on whether collectors want another six Presidents in the set and would buy the 30 million to 36 million additional coins their addition would entail.





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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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