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Stamp Those Polk Dollar Coins
August 20, 2009



Remember the Presidential dollar? You would be forgiven if you said you don't. They have definitely been put in the shade by the Lincoln cents this year.

We are suffering from the third-year curse of lack of interest and a run of Presidents who few remember, but that doesn't mean they didn't do important things.

Today, the James K. Polk Presidential dollar is formally introduced at 10 a.m. at the former President's home in Columbia, Tenn.

Remember what he did? No?

Well, it was a little matter of leading the country in a war with Mexico 1846-1848 that resulted in the United States annexing over half a million square miles of territory in the Southwest and West, including California.

Abraham Lincoln, that star of the wildly popular cent, opposed the war and was chucked out of Congress for his trouble in 1848.

Conveniently for the United States, gold was discovered in such large quantity in California in 1848 that it catapulted the place to statehood in 1850.

Oregon and Washington territories were also added to the United States.

Polk was the man in the White House at the time, but little of this history is likely to find its way to the public, nor will the coins likely find their way to their neighborhood banks.

Perhaps we should ask the Mint to stamp "CAL" on some of those dollars as was done on the 1848 $2.50 gold pieces just to create an historical parallel and perhaps a little bit more interest.



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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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