Production of Circulating Presidential $1 Coins Halted

by Darrin Lee Unser on December 14, 2011 · 16 comments

George Washington Presidential $1 Coin

The George Washington Presidential $1 Coin, the first issue in the U.S. Mint's Presidential $1 Coin Program

Production of circulating Presidential $1 Coins has been immediately suspended at the United States Mint. The suspension comes at the direction of Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner as part of a broad Campaign to Cut Government Waste established by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

Presidential $1 Coins will continue to be produced by the United States Mint for coin collectors much like the Kennedy half dollars have been in recent years. New Presidential dollars, however, will no longer be available through the Federal Reserve Bank System as they had been in the past.

Reports and Congressional interest in the matter appearing earlier in the year may have led to the halt in circulating Presidential $1 Coins. The United States Mint has produced more than 2.37 billion since their introduction. The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the Federal Reserve Bank has more than $1.4 billion worth of the coins sitting in its vaults, or "enough to meet current levels of circulating demand for more than a decade."

This surplus was created, at least partially, because of Congressional requirements. In the authorizing Act for the coins (Public Law 109-145), Congress mandates that the:

"Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Secretary shall take steps to ensure that an adequate supply of $1 coins is available for commerce and collectors at such places and in such quantities as are appropriate…"

To that end, the Federal Reserve System ordered quantities of new Presidential $1 Coins to be available upon release at local banking institutions. However, following their debut, demand waned quickly leading many of those institutions to send back un-wanted strikes to be placed in Federal Reserve vaults. That surplus led some in Congress to even consider ordering a halt to the Presidential $1 Coin Program altogether.

However, further Congressional intervention was apparently not required as the Secretary of the Treasury already has the power to "mint and issue coins … in amounts the Secretary decides are necessary to meet the needs of the United States," states the Treasury. With that power in hand, the Secretary and the Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden announced the production halt at a cabinet meeting Tuesday.

"At the Treasury Department, we’re continuing to work hard in support of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s efforts to cut waste and streamline government," commented Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner about the announcement to halt circulating Presidential $1 Coin production.

"Putting a stop to the minting of surplus $1 coins represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In these tough times, Americans are making every dollar count, and they deserve the same from their government. We simply shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on money that taxpayers aren’t using."

The suspension should also significantly impact Native American $1 Coin mintages, based on available information. Current law requires that 20 percent of all $1 coins produced each year must feature the latest Native American design.

The Presidential $1 Coin Program debuted in 2007 and features obverse portraits of former Presidents of the United States. Coins in the program are released at a rate of four per year in the order in which the individuals served. The next strike to be issued in the program is scheduled to be the Chester A. Arthur $1 Coin in early 2012.

For past, current and future releases, view this site’s Presidential dollars information section.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Koichi Ito December 15, 2011 at 3:02 am

Why people hate circulating $1 coins? In fact most people likes $1 proof coins, so why $1 coins does not circulates?

Vachon December 15, 2011 at 4:53 am

It’s good to know the government will continue wasting money warehousing these unwanted dollars rather than have the $1 bill discontinued and get the $1 coins circulating and thus out of storage. I can only hope Republicans strongly back the passage of that bill to eliminate the dollar bill as it would benefit them strongly. By the time the surplus coins are distributed and exhausted necessitating the resumption of production, it would be just in time for the Reagan dollar to come out. How awesome for them. Eliminate the $1 bill…and the $2, the $5, and the $10 while you’re at it.

Ryan North December 15, 2011 at 7:12 am

Makes no sense as they cut out the wrong Dollar. They would have saved more had they cut out the dollar bill, but instead decide on cutting out the dollar coin. $184 million > $50 million a year, great backwards thinking by our govt.

Fred Shecter December 15, 2011 at 10:39 am
Werner Tseng December 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

Yes, this Democratic government really cannot think straight! Cutting the $1 bill would have save billions in cost over the next 10 years. Instead, they want to waste more money in printing paper bills and storing the coins. This saving they claim is short-sighted and misleading.

Vachon December 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

@Schecter : Done.

Munze December 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Let’s see … we’re gonna save about $50 million a year by making a dumb-*** decision that will cost $750 million a year in return.

If the gummint is too stupid to do this simple math no wonder we have crumbling bridges, crappy health insurance, trains slower than in the 1920s, kids who can’t read….

Welcome to the third world, folks.

george glazener December 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm

What a crock this is. If king barry and his consort michelle antoinette would just fly coach with their own damn money every time they felt the need to waste ours, not to mention queen nancy’s weekly round-trip to and from DC, we could keep both the $1 FRN AND the bloody dollar coins. And tax cheat timmy geitner is trying to stop govt. waste?…what a hypocrite!

Chester Arthur, Warren G. Harding or even James Buchanan were better Presidents on their worst days than the charlatan we have now. At least jimmy carter can feel good now that he’s no longer the worst President in American history. God bless America and Merry Christmas coin collectors.

Makoto December 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Thinking of cutting the whole Presidential Coin Program?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Its just wrong!!!

MrBill F1 December 17, 2011 at 11:24 am

Stop making paper dollar bills.

If they really want to ‘save’ money – stop making pennies that cost more to produce than their actually worth!

This administration is going to make money obsolete – just hand it all out and go away!

Kevin December 18, 2011 at 12:53 am

The only way the public was ever going to adopt the 1$ coin would be by force. The most common complaint I heard was that the dollar coin was too similar in size to quarters. And go figure…. The half dollar is much bigger than the dollar.

Susan B. Anthony coin was a flop too.

Saving $50M is for show.

bill December 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Looks like I will be spending the P and D rolls I have for each pres.

Hmmmmm What to do with $1000. Canadian bullion it is! In a vote of no confidence in our govt.

Im sure the price for these dollar coins will double, giving the collector one more thrust up the wazoo!

george glazener December 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

Gobble up those Garfield rolls boys & girls….!
The last of a good thing should be a good collectible years down the road.

Mike December 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

Ok, let me understand this. You have 1.4 billion in vaults that are not moving. Why not stop printing $1 bills FIRST and meet demand for $1 denomination with the coins you already have in stock. That seems like the way to produce savings!

Munze December 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm

/* The most common complaint I heard was that the dollar coin was too similar in size to quarters. */
A complete canard. People who haven’t seen/used the “golden” dollars are relying on their memories of the admittedly disastrous SBA. If coins are different in color, design, and edge there’s little chance of confusion. The brain compares relative sizes, not absolute (you can look it up) and the $1 coin and quarter have about the same size ratio as pennies and dimes; when was the last time anyone confused _them_? Plus the Canadian quarter and Loonie are essentially identical to their US counterparts in size and color, yet millions of Canadians use them without problems. EU coins are very similar in size too, but again they have different colors and edges so no confusion there either. Why can 500+ million Canadians and Europeans adapt, but not us Americans?

/* And go figure…. The half dollar is much bigger than the dollar. */
That’s ‘cuz for all other denominations we’re still wedded to the same sizes as 150 years ago. It took the failure of the Ike dollar for the Mint to finally realize that a new coin didn’t have to be backwards-compatible for a century and a half, but they never downsized the half at the same time. Heck, they screwed up the half once before by leaving silver in it during ’65-’69, so what’s wrong with another fail or two??

Britain, Australia, and the EU resized their coins without difficulty. Nobody there is flummoxed by, e.g. a €1 coin that’s smaller than a 50 e-cent piece, or an A$2 coin that’s 1/3 the size of an A20¢ coin. It all comes down to being willing to adapt. It took 30 years and oceans of counterfeits to convince Congress and the BEP to make each paper bill a different color. Remember “American money HAS to be green!” ? But guess what, once people had them in hand and discovered that the world wasn’t coming to an end, NO PROBLEMS.

(Now, about that silly little business of wasting hundreds of billions a year by measuring things in multiples of 12, 16, 5280, etc. instead of by tens …)

Mike March 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

It is unbelievable how little common sense our government has.
After reading all of these posts, all that I can see is that the citizens of this great country has more common sense than the government.
I say, fire all of them. Let them see how hard it is to support a family and make ends meet without being paid their salary for life, open expense account, free healthcare, free flights, on and on and on.
Now where is the money actually being wasted.
Government; get your heads out of your butts

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