KINDERHOOK, N.Y. — President Martin Van Buren admirers braved the frigid weather today in a ceremony held at the Kinderhook Cemetery in Kinderhook, N.Y., on the anniversary of his birth, to witness the inauguration of the Presidential $1 Coin bearing his image. The event included a ceremonial “pour” of hundreds of shiny new Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coins by United States Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart, Kinderhook Mayor Bill Van Alstyne and others. Following the ceremony, participants lined up to exchange their paper bills for $25 rolls of Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coins. Children 18 years old and younger received a free coin.
“Many Americans are not aware of Van Buren’s legacy,” Deputy Director Brunhart said. “He was a self–made man, who rose from humble beginnings to become our Nation’s eighth President. Not only was he an artful politician, but he also helped shape our political system as we know it today.”
Martin Van Buren epitomizes the American ideal of success through hard work. His father, of Dutch descent, was a tavern keeper and farmer of modest means. Unable to provide a college education for his son, the elder Van Buren instead secured a position for his son in a law office where he worked as a clerk by day and studied law at night.
Following his admission to the New York Bar, Van Buren began his political career, rising through the ranks to become a powerful politician. He served as governor of New York, ambassador to Great Britain, secretary of state, U.S. senator and vice president before being elected President in 1837.
Van Buren was the first President born an American citizen and the first not of British descent. He was regarded for his impeccable attire, quick wit and unfailing tact. His political acumen and skill as a behind–the–scenes organizer earned him numerous nicknames, including “The Little Magician,” “The Red Fox of Kinderhook” and “The Mistletoe Politician.” He is generally considered a key figure in the formation of the modern American political system. Defeated in his bid for re–election, Van Buren retired to his home, Lindenwald, after serving only one term in office.
The image on the obverse (heads) side of the Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coin was created by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and executed by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Phebe Hemphill. Incused on the coin’s edge are the inscriptions 2008, E PLURIBUS UNUM, IN GOD WE TRUST and the mint mark of origin. Beginning in 2009, Presidential $1 Coins will feature the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST on the obverse.
The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue Presidential $1 Coins honoring the United States Presidents in the order in which they served, with four new designs annually. The Martin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coin is the eighth coin circulating coin in the Presidential $1 Coin Program.
To view and download high–resolution images of the circulating Marin Van Buren Presidential $1 Coin, go to: http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=photo#Pres
Background information on the Presidential $1 Coin Program is available at http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/coin/index.cfm
Lesson plans are available for download at http://www.usmint.gov/kids/.