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Coin of the Month

James Buchanan 1$ Coin

My coin for September, like all Presidential $1 Coins, has a partner: a First Spouse coin. Now, First Spouse coins don't circulate, so you won't run across one in a store or bank. But let's think about both partner coins today.

As with all the First Spouse coins of an unmarried president, the design on the front of Buchanan's First Spouse coin is based on a coin used during his presidency. A scene from Buchanan's boyhood is shown on the back. You can see both designs on the Buchanan's Liberty page.

Even for an unmarried president, someone always has to perform the duties of the hostess of the White House. In President Buchanan's case, he called on his favorite niece, Harriet Lane, to fill this role. And from all reports, she did a great job!

President Buchanan was not only Harriet's uncle but had been her guardian since she became an orphan at the age of 11. Buchanan brought her along on his travels to Europe, where he had served as minister to Russia and later Great Britain.

Harriet was not only a great hostess for her weekly dinner parties in the White House, but she worked to improve conditions on American Indian reservations and to help children who were sick or in need.

So President Buchanan had great help from his First Lady, even though he was a bachelor. You can read more about Buchanan and his coin on the James Buchanan 2010 page.

—Plinky

Plinky, the Mint Pig

Teacher Feature

Image shows the front of the Buchanan $1 Coin.
Obverse:  Below the president's name and portrait, the words "In God we trust" and "15th president 1857 to 1861" are inscribed.

Image shows the back of a Presidential $1 Coin.
Reverse:  An image of the statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World" is surrounded by the words "United States of America" and the denomination "$1."


Image shows the edges of a stack of Presidential $1 coins.
Edge:  The edge holds the required inscriptions "E Pluribus Unum," "In God We Trust," the mint mark, and the year the coin was made or issued.


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