Whose face is on the dollar coin? If you’ve ever fished around in your pocket for change and pulled out a large golden coin, you may have wondered: whose face is on the dollar coin? This distinctive golden-colored coin has an important history and place in U.S. currency.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the obverse (front) of the current $1 coin features a portrait of George Washington, the first U.S. president. The reverse (back) displays the Statue of Liberty.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the fascinating history of the U.S. dollar coin, its changing designs over the decades, and the notable figures who have graced its surface. We’ll also look at the roles dollar coins have played in commerce and numismatics over the years.
Whether you’re curious about the jingling coin in your pocket or interested in learning about an intriguing piece of American history, read on to uncover the story behind the dollar coin.
The Evolution of the Dollar Coin’s Changing Designs
The Early American Eagle Coins (1794-1838)
The first dollar coin introduced in the United States was the American Eagle dollar coin. These coins were minted from 1794 to 1838 and featured a stunning design of a flying eagle on the obverse and a heraldic eagle on the reverse.
These early dollar coins were made of silver and have become highly sought after by collectors due to their historical significance and limited availability.
The Seated Liberty Dollar (1840-1873)
In 1840, the design of the dollar coin was changed to feature the Seated Liberty on the obverse. This design depicted Lady Liberty seated on a rock, holding a shield and a staff. The reverse side of the coin showed an eagle with outstretched wings.
The Seated Liberty dollar coins were minted until 1873 and were made of 90% silver.
The Trade Dollar (1873-1885)
In response to the growing trade with Asia, the Trade Dollar was introduced in 1873. This coin was specifically minted for trade purposes and was initially intended for use in the Far East. The design of the Trade Dollar was similar to the Seated Liberty dollar, but it had a higher silver content.
Unfortunately, the Trade Dollar was not widely accepted in the United States and production ceased in 1885.
The Morgan Dollar (1878-1904, 1921)
The Morgan Dollar, named after its designer George T. Morgan, was first minted in 1878. It featured a profile of Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle with outstretched wings on the reverse. The Morgan Dollar was made of 90% silver and became one of the most iconic and beloved dollar coins in American history.
Production of the Morgan Dollar ceased in 1904 but was briefly resumed in 1921 due to public demand.
The Peace Dollar (1921-1935)
Following the end of World War I, the Peace Dollar was introduced in 1921 to symbolize peace and prosperity. This coin featured a profile of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a perched eagle on the reverse.
The Peace Dollar was made of 90% silver and is considered one of the most beautiful coin designs in American history. Production of the Peace Dollar continued until 1935.
The Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1978)
In honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Dollar was introduced in 1971. The obverse of the coin featured a portrait of President Eisenhower, while the reverse depicted an eagle landing on the moon.
The Eisenhower Dollar was made of copper-nickel and was the largest and heaviest dollar coin ever issued by the United States Mint.
The Anthony Dollar (1979-1981, 1999)
To promote the use of dollar coins, the Susan B. Anthony Dollar was introduced in 1979. On the obverse, this coin featured a portrait of Susan B. Anthony, a prominent figure in the women’s suffrage movement. The reverse depicted an eagle landing on the moon.
However, the Anthony Dollar was not widely accepted by the public and its production ceased in 1981. It was briefly minted again in 1999 for collector sets.
The Sacagawea Dollar (2000-Present)
In 2000, the Sacagawea Dollar was introduced to honor the Native American guide who assisted Lewis and Clark on their expedition. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Sacagawea, while the reverse depicts an eagle in flight.
The Sacagawea Dollar is made of a copper core with a manganese brass outer layer and has a distinctive golden color.
The Presidential Dollar Series (2007-2016)
From 2007 to 2016, the United States Mint released a series of dollar coins known as the Presidential Dollar series. Each year, four different presidents were honored on the obverse of the coin, while the reverse featured an image of the Statue of Liberty.
This series aimed to educate the public about the presidents and their contributions to American history.
Key Facts About the Current George Washington Dollar Coin
When the Current Design Was Introduced
Whose face is on the dollar coin? The current design of the George Washington dollar coin was introduced in 2007 as part of the Presidential Dollar Coin Program. This program aimed to honor the presidents of the United States by featuring their portraits on circulating coins.
George Washington, the first president of the United States, was chosen to be the first president to be featured on the dollar coin.
Obverse (Heads) Design
The obverse, or head side, of the George Washington dollar coin features a portrait of George Washington. The design was based on a bust of Washington created by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon in 1785.
The portrait shows Washington in a dignified manner, with his gaze directed towards the right side of the coin. The words “George Washington” and “In God We Trust” are inscribed on the coin, along with the year of minting.
Reverse (Tails) Design
The reverse, or tail side, of the George Washington dollar coin, features a rendition of the Statue of Liberty. This design was chosen to symbolize freedom and democracy, values that are closely associated with the United States.
The words “United States of America” and “One Dollar” are inscribed on the coin, along with the mint mark and the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “Out of many, one.”
Composition and Specifications
The George Washington dollar coin is composed of a manganese-brass alloy, which gives it a distinct golden color. It has a diameter of 26.5 millimeters and a weight of 8.1 grams. The edge of the coin is reeded, which means it has a series of ridges that help to prevent counterfeiting.
Circulation and Production
The George Washington dollar coin, like other dollar coins, is primarily produced for circulation in vending machines and mass transit systems. However, it has not gained widespread acceptance in everyday transactions, and many people are not familiar with its existence.
As a result, the production of dollar coins has been significantly reduced in recent years. Nevertheless, collectors and numismatists still value these coins for their historical and artistic significance.
The Practical Usage and Collectability of the Dollar Coin
When it comes to the practical usage of the dollar coin, it has had a mixed reception among the general public. While the dollar bill is the most commonly used form of currency for everyday transactions, the dollar coin has also found its place in commerce.
One advantage of the dollar coin is its durability. Unlike paper bills, which can easily tear or get damaged, coins have a longer lifespan and can withstand more wear and tear. This makes them a more practical choice for vending machines, parking meters, and public transportation systems.
The Dollar Coin in Commerce
Although the dollar coin is not as widely circulated as the dollar bill, it still serves a significant role in certain sectors of the economy. For example, casinos often use dollar coins for slot machines and other gaming activities.
The weight and feel of the coins add to the overall casino experience for players. Additionally, some businesses and organizations, such as toll booths and vending machine operators, prefer to use dollar coins due to their efficiency in handling large volumes of transactions.
Furthermore, the dollar coin has gained popularity in certain regions or communities that have embraced its use. For instance, in some cities, local businesses and residents actively promote the use of dollar coins as a way to support local economies and reduce the environmental impact of paper bills.
Dollar Coins for Collectors and Numismatists
Aside from its practical usage, the dollar coin also holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and numismatists. Collecting coins, or numismatics, has been a popular hobby for centuries, and the dollar coin is a prized addition to many collections.
Some collectors focus on acquiring specific types or designs of dollar coins, while others aim to collect a complete set of all the different dollar coins ever issued.
Numismatists find joy in studying the history, artistry, and rarity of dollar coins. They appreciate the intricate designs, the stories behind each coin, and the historical significance they represent.
Some dollar coins even have errors or unique variations, making them highly sought after by collectors. The value of these coins can vary greatly depending on factors such as condition, rarity, and demand in the market.
The Future of the Dollar Coin
As we look to the future, the dollar coin’s role in commerce and collectability may continue to evolve. While the dollar bill remains the dominant form of currency for everyday transactions, there have been ongoing discussions about the potential benefits of transitioning to a dollar coin-based system.
Proponents argue that dollar coins can save the government money in the long run, as coins have a longer lifespan and do not need to be replaced as frequently as paper bills.
However, any decision to increase the circulation of dollar coins would require a coordinated effort between the government, businesses, and the general public. It would involve educating the public about the advantages of using dollar coins and ensuring that the necessary infrastructure, such as coin-accepting machines, is in place to support their widespread usage.
Whose Face Is On The Dollar Coin – Conclusion
While largely overshadowed by the ubiquitous $1 bill, the dollar coin has a fascinating history and important role in U.S. currency. Over nearly two and a half centuries, its changing designs have honored leading American statesmen, symbols of liberty, and noteworthy women.
Whose face is on the dollar coin currently? Today, the readily recognizable profile of the first U.S. president graces the golden dollar coin. The long-running dollar coin series celebrates the breadth of American history and diversity of achievement.
For currency collectors and enthusiasts, the dollar coin offers a tangible connection to the nation’s rich numismatic heritage.