The end of an era …

Final Presidential Dollar Honors Ronald Reagan

On July 1, 2016, the U.S. Mint brought one of its most popular coin programs to an end when it released the Presidential Dollar for Ronald Reagan. The coin features a distinctive portrait of Reagan from his time as the 40th President from 1981 to 1989. 

When the Presidential Dollars series started in 2007, Reagan was not scheduled to be included. The series honors the Presidents in the order they served, starting with George Washington as the first President from 1789 to 1797. Four different coins were produced each year, but each was made in a limited edition of only about 13 weeks before the next coin was released. 

To avoid the appearance of political favoritism, only deceased Presidents were authorized for inclusion in the program. Even though Reagan died in 2004, he was not included because his immediate predecessors – Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter – were still alive and the U.S. Mint interpreted the law to end with Richard Nixon to avoid skipping over Presidents who were still alive. 

Ford died on December 26, 2006 – just a few weeks before the first Presidential Dollar was issued on February 15, 2007. Since Carter was still alive, it took pressure from Congress in 2015 for the U.S. Mint to add Reagan to the program. 

Presidential Dollars will soon fade into history … 

With the release of the Reagan coin comes the stark realization that only a tiny minority of collectors have been able to assemble complete collections of all 39 coins in the series, from Washington in 2007 to Reagan in 2016. 

Since the coins were all struck in limited quantities and were available from the U.S. Mint for a limited time, some of the coins have become virtually impossible to find. The coin with the lowest total mintage is Woodrow Wilson in 2013, so it is likely that this will be the coin that proves to be the key to the collection – along with popular Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, of course. 

As with any coin series, completeness is a goal. And as with any coin series that has already ended, completeness becomes more and more difficult as the years go by. Just look at programs like the original State Quarters series that ended in 2009 and which is now virtually impossible to find as a complete set! 

Presidential Dollars are destined to remain popular, since it’s the first coin series to honor the American Presidency … but those who don’t complete their collections now may be disappointed when they try to do so in the future. Now is the time to make sure your collection is complete and up-to-date! 


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