American Innovation $1 Coin Act Reintroduced

by Mike Unser on February 10, 2017 · 25 comments

Coin-Legislation-Capital-Building.jpgOn Jan. 31, legislation calling for another series of $1 coins was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Jim Himes, D-CT.

Carrying the same name as the first bill, which died from inaction in the last session of Congress, the American Innovation $1 Coin Act seeks a 56-coin program for collectors that runs 14 years with one coin for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories.

Beginning in 2018 or as soon as economically feasible, they would be issued at a rate of four per year in alphabetic order of the state, the district, or territory represented, starting with Alabama. The U.S. Mint would strike them in uncirculated and proof qualities and quantities determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.

The legislation states that all 56 coins must share an obverse design that is symbolic of Liberty and bear the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST. Each of the reverses would be emblematic of:

  • A significant innovation,
  • An innovator or pioneer, or
  • A group of innovators or pioneers.

A provision prohibits the use of any portrait or bust of any person living or dead. In addition, the design must have the name of the state, district, or territory. Required reverse inscriptions are $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Standard $1 edge inscriptions are called for — the year of minting, or issuance, E PLURIBUS UNUM, and a mint mark.

The Secretary of the Treasury would select the innovation, innovator or pioneer, or group of innovators or pioneers to be honored after consultation with the Governor or other chief executive of the state, the District of Columbia, or territory. The Secretary would also choose the eventual designs after consulting with the heads of the sites, the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

For the bill (H.R. 770) to become law, it must pass in the House, Senate and get signed by the President.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

R.F.K. February 10, 2017 at 10:11 am

Really? Are you kidding me?? How many $1 coins are siting in vaults right now?? Billions??

Seth Riesling February 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

R. F. K. (Robert Francis Kennedy?) –

You are so right about that! There are approximately 1.2 billion $1 coins (Presidential & Sacagawea & Native American types) sitting in a Federal Reserve vault in Dallas,Texas right now! The Fed had to build a $600,000 building with a vault to hold them – at taxpayer cost.
Unreal what our Congress does sometimes with coin legislation!

-NumisDudeTX

Richard February 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

Agreed, it is ridiculous. The state quarters worked well, but this would be killing an already overdone idea.

R.F.K. February 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

Let’s just hope this is one Trump WILL NOT sign!!

Joe C. February 10, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Here we go again. I guess the mint will never learn.

Stuart Wheeler February 10, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Let’s rewind back to a simpler year like 1967 for a minute. LBJ was #36 Commander in Chief; the U.S. Mint was headed by Eva Adams. Under their watch, the sole offering of the Mint was Special Mint Sets, period. Otherwise, it was churning out pennies through 40% silver clad halves for circulation with coins having no identification of where it was made; no mint marks were used that year. For the sake of argument, coins with no identifiers can be assumed to come only from Philadelphia in 1967. The only concern back then were to run the coining presses as fast as they can run to remedy the coin shortage. Except for the clad coinage act of 1965 signed by LBJ, there was no time remaining to even consider other legislation for the Mint to get involved with. Today here in 2017, 50 years later, the Mint has too many programs on the docket besides striking coins for commerce, etc. I believe they need to slow down and delete programs as well as cutting costs overall. Maybe not as severe as 1967, but, trim the excess fat in it’s offerings. I’m old enough to remember first hand when Alaska and Hawaii became States. Yes, I’m an old fellow, and my father was born 100 years ago this year though he passed on in 2003. God bless each of you.

Joe C. February 10, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Stuart,
Keep it going, Stu. God bless you too.

lonnie February 10, 2017 at 2:32 pm

this is as bad an idea is the 2017 gold high relief design with cornrows.

TY February 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

This is pathetic that these people have nothing better to do but come up with these wasteful coin series. Get rid of the penny. Make the nickel cheaper, which is taking them way too long for their “research”. People have no affinity with coins anymore because they’re no longer iconic. No one will use the $1 coin if we keep printing $1 bills. I really hope Trump has the common sense to see that this is a terrible idea. George W signed two worthless acts like they just showed up on his desk and was told to sign without asking what they were.

Munzen February 10, 2017 at 7:18 pm

TY – absolutely correct. The last thing we need is yet another series of coins that go from the Mints to the vaults, with some ending up in collectors’ hands along the way.

Coinage reform is LONG overdue. Pennies make up over half of the Mints’ output of circulating coins and $1 bills account for ~45% of the BEP’s production. Nearly every other major industrial country did this years if not decades ago. We also need to either redesign the $2 bill or make a nice, small, distinctive $2 coin to fill the gap between $1 and $5 – again, something nearly every other major country has done long ago.

Unfortunately so long as Crane Paper and the zinc industry can successfully lobby Congress to protect their profits, we’re stuck with a wasteful and obsolete system.

Chris February 11, 2017 at 8:28 am

5 of the 7 Co-sponsors of this bill are Republicans. Consider it done.

Springer February 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Don’t forget how much packaging they sell with these coins. How many coins are packed in different offerings? Makes for a lot of packaging sells, which the makers of the packaging would not want to lose those sells.

Jp February 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

This thing is a loser from the get go. I can’t believe this might happen. Whats the point doing these when you do not have them for release to the general public as spending coinage. NO BODY wants these.
The most stupid idea they are reviving yet!
There will be NO SALE from me. Not interested.

Charlie 1952 February 11, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Hey Seth why don’t you suggest to the powers that be that they melt the 1.2 billion coins they have the way they did the morgan dollars except this time keep track of how many of each design year mint mark and finish they melt so they can revise the total mintage of each coin. Maybe that might even make all these coins in collectors hands worth a little more. Then they will have room in their new building to store the new ones. Just a thought.

Seth Riesling February 11, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Charlie 1952 –

Good idea you would think, but… When the Federal Reserve orders circulating coins from the US Mint for its 12 Fed Districts banks, it owns them at the moment of delivery (no returns allowed!) The reason is that when the US Mint delivers coins to the Fed, the coins are then “monetized” for their legal tender face value & the Mint takes its profit on their accounting books at that time called seigniorage (the difference between the face value on the coin & the cost to produce the coin) This allows the Mint to put some major profit into the US Treasury General Fund for Congress to appropriate as they see fit under the Constitution (they control the purse strings of the US govt) Therefore, the Fed in this case is up the proverbial river without a paddle! Strange, but true. If the public would just use the damn $1 coins it would draw down their overflowing vaults at the Fed banks, but since 1979 we all know that a dollar coin will not work in the USA unless the Treasury Dept gets rid of the $1 FRN “banknotes” which hasn’t happened in the 38 years since the failed SBA $1 coins were released & I don’t see any chance for a change in policy due to stubborn govt incompetence & the lobby for the one company that produces all US banknote “paper” in the company town of Dalton, Massachusetts (Crane Paper Company) for since way before I was born in 1962. Crazy but true! Only in America!

-NumisDudeTX

joera February 11, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Holding all those coins in a vault makes no sense at all. Besides the cost of building the building then there is the cost of running the building. Trump is a different kind of president so let’s see if he can change the mint’s ways.

Charlie 1952 February 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

Seth you are a very knowledgeable man and have enlightened me on several things here of late, that’s the reason I like following this coin news daily. I recently had a friend of mine that started in the hobby ask me where I got all my information from so I directed him to this web sight, he loves it to. I really appreciate the blog part of the articles it is very helpful. Thanks so much.

Charlie 1952 February 12, 2017 at 10:03 am

I must say though I didn’t really appreciate some of the comments that were posted about the gold coin coming out this year. It is just a coin but I read the article that was posted that contained the pictures of the different choices they had to pick from. There were some very nice ones they overlooked I thought. They could have chosen a much better design. But if they make the 4 medal silver set I will try and get one.

David February 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

What the synopsis fails to mention is that these coins are numismatic items, minted for collectors. These coins aren’t being minted for circulation so there is no concern that the Fed will monetize coins that the public doesn’t want to use in circulation. U.S. Mint programs like this, although they don’t appeal to every collector, are a great way to introduce new collectors to the hobby. They can be educational tools also, helping people to learn more about the leaders, pioneers, natural assets and accomplishments of our country. An educational program that sparks the interest of new collectors and makes money for the government, not wastes it, doesn’t seem harmful to me. If you don’t like collecting this type of coin, then don’t. But the millions of people that have collected State Quarters, America the Beautiful Quarters and Presidential Dollars suggests that many people do enjoy these educational coin series.

George February 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm

It’s not a bad idea as long as they on mint enough just for coin collectors or mint to order.

Donald February 13, 2017 at 11:57 pm

These coins are for collectors only. Only 1 or 2 million will be produced. If the government want people to use the dollar coin they have to stop the paper dollars from circulating

Kevin Reinhard February 14, 2017 at 11:03 am

Don’t they export these dollar coins to other countries?

Billymac11 February 16, 2017 at 9:09 am

Donald’s right. Only for collectors, but the mint has oversaturated the collector’s market, overpackages the products, and charges too much.

But, just to stick up for the mint from some other posters, it is not their call to create such numismatic items; it comes directly from congress’ legislative directives. And they don’t technically “overproduce” any coin; they make as much as the Fed orders from them if my understanding is correct.

If they want to be “innovative”, find a way to eliminate the dollar bill and get these coins minted for circulation, along with an appropriate $2 coin. That’d be innovative.

Chuck February 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm

COME ON!
You all know that these coins only cost a few cents to strike, lets say 7 cents?
As soon as they enter the collector market they are valued at $1 !!
That is about 93 cents profit per coin for the Government.
It’s all about the profit, and since they are not for circulation, they are in all reality a commemorative coin!
After the coin for Lyndon Johnson turned out to look just like Arthur Godfrey,
some of the Mint artist are quite challenged.
The answer—DON’T BUY THEM!!!—let the Mint store them in their vaults.

Donald February 21, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The only ones who are making a profit is the federal reserve bank. They sell them to the govt. face value plus interest.

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