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Johnson debuts

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Change in personnel at the U.S. Mint has changed the face of the institution at coin introduction ceremonies.

Chief legal counsel Daniel P. Shaver was drafted to officially unveil the Andrew Johnson Presidential dollar Feb. 17 at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greenville, Tenn.

“Beginning today, millions of Andrew Johnson Presidential $1 coins will be released into circulation by Federal Reserve banks across the nation,” Shaver declared to the audience. “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.”

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Shaver was joined as host by National Park Service employees Daniel Luther and Lizzie Watts from the Johnson National Historic Site.

Members of the first grade class of East View Elementary School were treated to free examples of the new coin as were other attendees under the age of 18.

Adults were able to buy the coins by the 25-coin roll for face value.

Collectors can buy the uncirculated rolls through the mail by visiting the U.S. Mint’s website. They are priced at $39.95 each for 25-coin rolls. There are rolls from either Philadelphia or Denver available.

The price is $4 higher than the price for last year’s issues.

A $4.95 postage and handling charge is assessed for every order.

Date and mintmark are incuse on the edge along with “E Pluribus Unum” and “United States of America.”

“In God We Trust” appears on the obverse, where it began appearing in 2009 after a public outcry following its original location on the edge with the date for the 2007 and 2008 Presidential dollar issues.

Johnson was the first U.S. President to be impeached, caught in the ugly politics of the years immediately after the Civil War.

He was from a border state that seceded from the American Union and joined the Confederacy. Johnson remained loyal to the Union and became Lincoln’s running mate in the 1864 election.

This fact and Johnson’s humble origins as a tailor as well as his career in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate made him a valuable electoral asset to a President who was thinking about binding up the nation’s wounds.

When Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Johnson became President, where his Southern credentials ceased to be viewed as assets and more as liabilities by the Congress.

He served out his term and left office in 1869, succeeded by popular Union general Ulysses S. Grant. Johnson was elected to the Senate from Tennessee again in 1874, but he died July 31, 1875.

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