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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 50, December 10, 2006, Article 23

QUIZ ANSWER: WHAT'S MISSING FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL DOLLARS?

Last week I posed this quiz question: "Relating to the new U.S.
Presidential dollars ... which required-by-law features are
nowhere to be found on the obverse or reverse of the coins?"

Gar Travis writes: "The Eagle, the National motto, In God We
Trust and mintmark."  Joe Boling and Anne Bentley also noted
the inscriptions, which have been moved to the edge of the coins.

This was an easy one. What prompted the question was this item
that popped up on the Internet last week:

"The mandatory “In God We Trust” that must appear on all United States
currency has been excluded from the face of a new U.S. dollar in an
effort to appease atheists who have legally fought to eliminate the
word God from public life, including the Pledge of Allegiance."

To read the complete article, see Full Story

According to the U.S. Mint Press release, "The designs of the coins
are bold and dramatic, with traditional inscriptions moved to the
edge to allow for larger images of the Presidents. These include "E
Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust," the year of minting or issuance,
and the mint mark, making these coins unique among today’s U.S.
circulating coins."

The article does note the Mint's stated reason for moving the
inscriptions, but seems to imply this is just a pretext.  As I
wrote previously, the designs do seem bold and uncluttered, and
this is made possible by sidelining the inscriptions.  The novel
(to most people today) edge lettering could actually cause more
people to notice, read and discuss the mottos.

Has anyone ever compiled a comprehensive list of U.S. coin edge
descriptions?  I've seen many articles on bust half edge lettering,
but few comprehensive illustrated articles.  With the new dollar
coins coming, this would make for a nice article or coin show exhibit.

To read the complete U.S. Mint Press Release, see: Full Story

[Gar Travis' response raises an interesting question - just where
IS the Eagle?  I'll admit I've not followed the new dollar story
closely, but the presence of the Eagle has been required by law on
silver and gold coins since the Mint act of 1792.  Did lawmakers
pass an exemption for the Presidential dollars, as they did with
the Fifty States Quarters?

The tiny eagle dwarfed by the Liberty Bell on the reverse of the
Franklin Half Dollar is there only to satisfy the letter of the law.
If an eagle were squeezed onto the edge of the new dollar coins, it
would surely be the smallest one to appear on a U.S. coin.  Does ANY
coin (perhaps German or Russian) have a tiny eagle on its edge,
perhaps as a separator between text phrases?  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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