- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Americans like their dollar bills, but the U.S. Mint is hoping they will like their change even more.

The Mint introduced its new $1 George Washington gold coin yesterday, a day before being released to the public.

While the presidential coins are expected to be popular with collectors, the last dollar coin to be introduced, featuring Sacagawea, was not a success.

The new coin, which weighs 8 grams, will be much lighter in people’s pockets than four quarters would, said Edmund Moy, director of the Mint.

“We believe that Americans are going to find these convenient to use in everyday life, whether it is parking meters or laundromats or vending machines,” Mr. Moy said. “We believe that collectors are going to be interested in these presidential dollar coins just as they have with the 50 State Quarters Program.”

The dollars will work in most coin machines, including parking meters, vending machines, toll booths, and laundromats.

Modeled after the quarter program, four designs featuring American presidents will be released each year in the order of their service, with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to be released later in 2007.

No living former or current president can be honored on a coin. They must have been dead for at least two years.

The face of each coin shows an original image of the president and the years of his terms of office. The Statue of Liberty will adorn the back of the coins.

Banks already have been given 300 million of the new coins and will start distributing them today.

“We are beginning to work with retailers for them to stock these coins also in their stores,” said Mr. Moy, adding that people will begin to see them throughout the course of the year in their daily transactions.

Schools also plan to use the coin for educational purposes, said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat.

“What better way to celebrate Presidents Weekend than announcing the new presidents coin that honors the great history of our country,” she said.

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