Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Coin Collecting and history - John Tyler

These coins look like gold, they are a tribute to numismatic history, and they spend like money... because they are.

To celebrate President John Tyler's birthday on this day in 1790, let's have a look at his dollar coin.

About John Tyler

John Tyler was a lawyer by vocation.  During his political career, he served as a state delegate and governor of Virginia, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator and Vice President  (for only a month) under William Henry Harrison.

Tyler became the first vice president to take office upon the death of the sitting president. At that time, the U.S. Constitution was not clear on succession, and his entire presidency was dominated by questions on the scope of his Presidential powers This uncertainty earned him the nickname “His Accidency.”  Many believed he should be recognized simply an acting president who would hold the office, with limited powers, until a new president could be elected. However, Tyler set an important precedent by assuming all the duties and powers of an elected president.

The Coin
Presidential Dollar - John Tyler
Presidential Dollar Reverse

Anatomy of a Presidential Dollar

The obverse of each coin displays a portrait of a U.S. President, their term in office, the number showing their order in office, and the legend "In God We Trust".

The reverse of each coin displays a depiction of the Statue of Liberty. This was done because the Presidential dollar series do not display the word "Liberty" as all other U.S. issues do.  They also display "The United States of America" and the coin's denomination.

Edge Lettering:
The edge of each coin displays the motto "E Pluribus Unum", the year the coins was made, and the mint mark. Edge lettering is an idea that pre-dates U.S. coinage. Back when coins struck for circulation were made of silver or gold, some less than ethical folks was either clip or file the edges of their coins, claiming a small amount of the precious metal for themselves while still passing the coin at face value. Edge letting and reeded edges (like you see on modern dimes, quarters, and halves) allowed merchants to know if the coins they were accepting as payment were missing some metal (which determined the coin's actual value, as all coins were made to a standard weight and purity).

More on the anatomy of coins.

Did you know?
There is also a First Spouse gold coin program. For more on this program, click here.

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