Remember the Eisenhower Dollar? Now that was a dollar’s dollar. It was twice as big as a quarter and felt heavier than it really was and when you had one in your pocket, you knew it was there. One of the reasons that later dollar-coin attempts failed was that their size shrank to smaller than a 50-cent piece. This caused the Susan B. Anthony coin to be nicknamed the “Carter Quarter” because so many people were spending them as 25-cent pieces by mistake.
Despite past failures, the U.S. Mint announced at a ceremony at The Smithsonian Institution on Monday that they would try again. They will begin circulating a new dollar coin on February 15, 2007. It will still be the same size as the 1979 Susan B. Anthony and the 2000-2002 Sacajawea. The coin will also be made of the same gold colored material as the Sacajawea with an additonal compound added to the metal to keep it from tarnishing as fast as its predecessor did.
The new dollars are set to feature the past Presidents of the United States in order from George Washington to Richard M. Nixon. Instead of a textured or ridged edge, the smooth rim will now hold such features as the mintmark, the date of striking, and the mottos “In God We Trust” and "E Pluribus Unum.” The design change is intended to allow space for larger portraits of the Presidents on the obverse side, and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse.
For the first time the coin will say “$1” instead of “One Dollar.”
The criteria for the presidents is that they must have been dead two years to be featured, so the current list will end at Richard M. Nixon. Grover Cleveland will actually be featured on two different coins because he held office in two non-consecutive terms.
The coins will be distributed every three months starting next year with Washington. Despite the fact that the mint has a three-and-a-half year stockpile of over $200 million worth of the Sacajawea coins, political pressure will force them to continue minting the Sacajawea coins at the same time.
The current distribution schedule is for each coin to be circulated for three months, and then the next will appear in sequence as follows: