The United States Mint has recently released the design candidates for the $1 coins to be issued honoring the 33rd to 38th Presidents, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. These six coins would be issued in 2015 and 2016, perhaps concluding the series.
From four to six design candidates were provided for each of the six coins. These were reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee last week and will be reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts later this week. Coverage of the meetings and the recommendations provided by the two groups will follow on Coin Update News.
For now, here is a look at the design candidates for 2015-2016 Presidential Dollars.
2015 Harry S. Truman
2015 Dwight D. Eisenhower
2015 John F. Kennedy
2015 Lyndon B. Johnson
2016 Richard M. Nixon
2016 Gerald Ford
Will the Presidential $1 Coin Program conclude after the issue honoring Gerald Ford?
The next President of the United States Jimmy Carter is currently not eligible to appear on a coin within the series since he is still living at the age of 89. The following President Ronald Reagan died in 2004. All subsequent Presents are still living.
The authorizing legislation for the program Public Law 109-145 is very clear that living former Presidents and the current President are not eligible to appear within the series.
LIMITATION IN SERIES TO DECEASED PRESIDENTS.—
No coin issued under this subsection may bear the image of a living former or current President, or of any deceased former President during the 2-year period following the date of the death of that President.
This would rule out the appearance of Presidents Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama within the series. President Regan would seem to qualify for a coin, however an interpretation of another aspect of the legislation may be preventing it.
At this point, it seems that the US Mint is interpreting the law to indicate that the coins of the series must be issued in sequential order of the Presidencies without any gaps. Once there is a gap, the series ends. Thus, even though Reagan is eligible under the criteria of being a deceased former President, he is excluded since the previous President Jimmy Carter is still alive, which terminates the series.
I do not think the authorizing legislation is abundantly clear on how this situation should be handled. The relevant section on the termination of the program is as follows:
TERMINATION OF PROGRAM.—The issuance of coins under this subsection shall terminate when each President has been so honored, subject to paragraph (2)(E), and may not be resumed except by an Act of Congress.
Paragraph (2)(E) refers to the limitation to deceased Presidents quoted previously. The instruction on the termination of the program does not seem to preclude issuing a coin for Reagan. Since he is not excluded under (2)(E), he should need to be honored with a coin.
His elimination seems to stem for the requirement on the order of issuance, which is as follows:
ISSUANCE OF COINS COMMEMORATING PRESIDENTS.—
‘‘(A) ORDER OF ISSUANCE.—The coins issued under this subsection commemorating Presidents of the United States shall be issued in the order of the period of service of each President, beginning with President George Washington.
Does the phrase “in the order of the period of service” imply that the coins must be issued in sequential order without any gaps? Personally, I would think that the ordering requirement simply means from earliest to latest without any further implication.
Or perhaps there is another requirement of the law that I am not seeing.
Some sources on the internet include Ronald Reagan as one of the former Presidents who will be honored within the series. However, the schedule of release on the US Mint’s website has never included Reagan. Even going back to the Mint’s initial announcement of the series in November 2006, Reagan is not mentioned. The schedule on the old press release ends with Nixon, so Ford was added at a later date.
When I saw that the design sets for the 2016 Presidential Dollars did not include Reagan, I reached out to the US Mint for confirmation on whether he would appear within the series and an explanation with regards to the law. I will share the Mint’s response as soon as I receive it.