The dollar is the United States’ 100-cent coin. It takes 100 pennies to equal a dollar! It is the basic unit of money in the U.S., whether in the form of paper money or a coin. Since 2012, the U.S. Mint makes most dollars for collecting. But it’s still possible you’ll see one in your change.
The obverse (heads) and reverse (tails) designs can be different. The Native American $1 Coins show an image of Sacagawea carrying her baby, Jean-Baptiste on the obverse. Every year, a new reverse highlights an important Native American. Another dollar coin program is the American Innovation $1 Coins. The Statue of Liberty is on the obverse. Each year, four reverse designs celebrate an invention made in each of our states, territories, and the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Mint first made the dollar in 1794. It was made of silver and showed a woman who represented liberty on the obverse with an eagle on the reverse. For more than 170 years, different Liberty and eagle designs were used on the dollar.
In 1971, the Mint changed the dollar to show Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th president. The dollar was also no longer made of silver. It was a “clad” coin, which means layers of copper and nickel sandwiched an inner layer of pure copper.
The design was changed again in 1979. This time Susan B. Anthony, a women’s suffrage leader, was on the coin. Before this coin, any women shown on our circulating coins were imaginary women. Susan B. Anthony was the first real woman on a U.S. circulating coin.
In 2000, the dollar gained a new golden color. The coins are now made with a mix of manganese, zinc, copper, and nickel metals. The designs have also changed as part of different coin programs, including:
- Sacagawea Golden Dollar (2000-2008) which showed Sacagawea and her baby, Jean-Baptiste on the obverse
- Presidential $1 Coins (2007-2016, 2020) which showed former U.S. presidents on the obverses
- Native American $1 Coins (2009 to present) which highlights important Native Americans on the reverse
- American Innovation $1 Coins (2018 to present) which celebrates different inventions on the reverse
Learn about other circulating coins.