GREENVILLE, Tenn. — Officials from the United States Mint and the National Park Service marked the release of the Andrew Johnson Presidential $1 Coin with a special ceremony held today at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.
“Beginning today, millions of Andrew Johnson Presidential $1 Coins will be released into circulation by Federal Reserve Banks across the Nation,” said United States Mint Chief Counsel Daniel P. Shaver. “During 2011, they will make their way into the hands and pockets of many Americans, connecting America through coins to Andrew Johnson and his Presidency.”
Joining Shaver to commemorate the coin’s release were Daniel Luther and Lizzie Watts from the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and the first grade class of East View Elementary School. Following the ceremony, attendees 18 years old and younger received an Andrew Johnson Presidential $1 Coin, while adults exchanged their currency for 25–coin rolls of the new coin.
The Andrew Johnson Presidential $1 Coin is the 17th released in the United States Mint Presidential $1 Coin Program. The coin’s obverse (heads side) features the portrait of former President Johnson by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Don Everhart and the inscriptions ANDREW JOHNSON, IN GOD WE TRUST, 17th PRESIDENT and 1865 – 1869. The coin’s reverse (tails side), also by Everhart, features a dramatic rendition of the Statue of Liberty. Inscriptions on the reverse are $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, with E PLURIBUS UNUM, 2011 and the mint mark (P or D) incused on the edge.
Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, N.C., in 1808. His mother apprenticed Andrew and his brother to a local tailor following the death of his father, which left the family destitute. Shortly thereafter, he and his family moved to Greeneville, Tenn., where he opened a tailor shop and married Eliza McCardle. Johnson, an adept stump speaker, entered politics and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in the 1840s and 1850s. In 1864, the Republican Party nominated him for vice president.
Johnson became President following President Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865. Highlights of his term include the acquisition of the Alaska territory and the Midway Islands. After leaving office, Johnson went back to Tennessee, remaining politically active. In 1874, Tennessee returned Johnson to the Senate, making him the only former President to have served in the Senate. He died a few months later, on July 31, 1875.
The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.