US Coins

George H.W. Bush may get Presidential dollar

President George H.W. Bush, shown here on his Presidential medal (3-inch version) struck by the U.S. Mint, seems likely to get a Presidential dollar as legislation advances in Congress.

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

George H.W. Bush is one step closer to appearing on a Presidential dollar in 2020.

Legislation introduced in the Senate passed that body on Dec. 16 that, if signed into law, would put Bush on a Presidential dollar coin and his wife, first lady Barbara Bush, on a First Spouse gold $10 coin. This is the second piece of legislation attempting to give the Bushes a place on U.S. coins.

Legislation introduced in the House in March did not pass either chamber. S. 457 was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 12 by John Cornyn, R-Texas. The President George H.W. Bush and First Spouse Barbara Bush Coin Act would, if signed into law, place images of the president and first lady on a manganese-brass clad dollar coin and gold $10 coin respectively. The legislation initially called for the coins to be minted during 2019, but was more recently modified to call for striking and issuing the coins after Jan. 1, 2020.  

The legislation does not make specific reference to striking bronze medals with the designs of the First Spouse gold $10 coins. All previous First Spouse coins were minted in an Uncirculated finish and a Proof finish and their release was accompanied by corresponding bronze medals.

George H.W. Bush died in November 2018 and Barbara died in December of that year. 

A second extension

If the bill becomes law, it would be the second extension of the Presidential dollar and First Spouse gold coin series.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential dollar coin and Nancy Reagan First Spouse gold $10 coins were struck and issued by the U.S. Mint in 2016, after Mint officials had said there would be no such coins. A February 2015 announcement superseded previous Mint assertions that the programs would end in 2016 with the production of the Gerald Ford Presidential dollar and Elizabeth “Betty” Ford First Spouse gold coins. 

Coin World had repeatedly asked in 2014 whether coins would be issued for the Reagans. President Reagan died in 2004. As Coin World reported Feb. 12, 2015, “The resultant Mint responses previously have simply been that the Presidential $1 Coin Program and First Spouse gold coin program would end in 2016 with the production of the Gerald Ford Presidential dollar and Elizabeth Ford First Spouse gold coin.”

The original authorizing act prohibited issuing a coin for any sitting president or living ex-president, and required an ex-president be dead at least two years before a Presidential dollar was permitted.

Presidential dollars and First Spouse half-ounce .9999 fine gold coins are authorized under provisions of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, Public Law 109-145. 

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