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End of series raises interest

The end of the Presidential dollar series has arrived with the 2016 issues for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

As circulation coins, the Presidential dollars failed. Production for circulation was halted in 2011 after the series debuted in 2007.

Nixon, Ford and Reagan Presidential dollars mark the last releases for the dollar coin series.

Nixon, Ford and Reagan Presidential dollars mark the last releases for the dollar coin series.

As a collectible coin series, however, they offer reverse proofs and errors to entice collectors.

Matt Crane of L&C Coins, Los Alamitos, Calif., said the dollar coins have a dedicated fan base that could grow with the series’ end.

“When you see a series ending, it can generate buzz that can get people to go out and buy past releases from the series,” he said. “People who have collected them since the beginning are still buying each year’s new issues.”

John Krupka, owner of Point Coin, Stevens Point, Wis., said Presidential dollars’ popularity won’t rise with the last issue.

“They were never a big part of the hobby to begin with,” he said. “The Presidential dollars have never equaled the popularity of state quarters. The dollars are being collected, but not like the large amount of people who collect quarters.

“The Mint should just let the series end. Don’t try and bring it back like the state quarters going into the territory and national park quarters.”

Collector interest leaped in 2015 when reverse proofs were included in the Coin & Chronicles sets. The sets contained reverse proof dollars honoring Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

Crane said L&C Coins has seen many collectors interested in the Chronicles sets and the reverse proof dollars.

“The early Truman and Ike Chronicles sets have done really well because of their lower production numbers,” he said.

While the set also contains a silver Presidential medal, the majority of the demand is for the reverse proof dollars. Truman sets currently trade around $200 to $225 per set, almost quadruple their initial purchase price of $57.95. Ike sets bring around $125 to $140, over double the same initial price.

The 2015 sets’ popularity with collectors has Crane excited over 2016’s Reagan Coin & Chronicles set release. Nixon and Ford coins will not have Chronicles sets.

“I could see the 2016 Reagan Chronicles set being as popular as the 2015 Kennedy set,” he said. “I imagine any Reagan Presidential dollars will be in demand. We’ll have them in stock when they come out.”

The Mint will release the Reagan Presidential dollar rolls and bags in July. A release date for the Reagan Chronicles set has yet to be determined.

What we do know is any excitement will be for the last new issue of the series.

U.S Coin Digest continues to be a great reference for any U.S. coin collector.

U.S Coin Digest continues to be a great reference for any U.S. coin collector.

Another area of collecting within the Presidential dollar series involves missing edge lettering mint errors. The Presidential dollar coins have edge lettering around the edge, noting the date and mintmark.

When the 2007 Washington dollars released, collectors discovered coins missing their edge lettering.

Krupka said the error discoveries initially spawned a frenzied market.

“They were hot when they were first discovered,” he said. “When something like that is found, there’s a certain period of time where it’s hot, where people want to buy them. In the long term, however, it falls flat.”

In 2007, Washington missing edge lettering errors brought in hundreds of dollars.

Since then, tens of thousands of Washington edge lettering errors have been found. PCGS has graded 20,051 Washington errors, NGC has seen 43,450. Recent sold eBay auctions now show a graded MS-65 example earning just $30 to $35, making it cheaper now for collectors looking to buy one.

Washington is not the only Presidential dollar coin to have missing edge lettering. Many other Presidential dollars featured the error, varying in rarity and  including new releases. For example, PCGS has seen only one 2015 Eisenhower dollar missing edge lettering. Likewise, NGC has seen just two 2010 Pierce dollar errors.

A survey of eBay missing edge lettering errors shows the finds still bring in premiums, depending on the President, grade and population reported found.

The Presidential dollar might have failed as a circulating coin, but as a solid collector set, it just might have a bright future.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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