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Motto battle shifts to Senate

Upset that the national motto ?In God We Trust? has been removed by error from some new golden Presidential dollar coins, S.2417, a bill to amend title 31 of the United States Code, to require the inscription to appear on the obverse of the $1 coins was introduced Dec. 5 by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

Referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, it joins a phalanx of other legislation of the same ilk that has been introduced, but not been enacted by Congress, since the errors were first discovered early this year with the George Washington coin.

Since the new dollar coins with presidential portraits were first issued in February of this year, the Mint has been plagued by a series of embarrassing errors. First the edge was blank entirely, leaving no record of the date (2007), mintmark (P or D), Latin motto, or national motto. The same thing then happened to the John Adams coin as well as doubling errors and ?wrong way? incused manufacture. Other similar errors have occurred on the Jefferson issues and most anticipate its regular occurrence, though the number of coins affected has been greatly reduced by Mint action to correct the manufacturing process.

Plain edge Adams are a $500 item while the Washington plain edge is selling for around $130. Both prices are based on supply and demand in the free market. The doubled lettering is selling for around $140.

Congress is accepting of Mint errors, but not the removal of ?In God We Trust? from the coinage. Since 1866, the motto has been a requisite part of nearly all coins. Since 1955 it has been required by law on coins and paper money.

What seems to have lit the political fire in Washington were allegations flying around the Internet that the motto has been demoted even on the coins where it correctly appears on the edge.

The lack of decision by the House and Senate to put the motto on the obverse fostered Brownbeck?s latest action. The Mint continues to oppose the legislative change because the motto was moved off the obverse to make room for the Presidential design. The errors are just that; an unintended consequence of Congress involving itself in the design and production process.

There?s no guarantee that even with the change proposed that the motto would always appear. There are numerous examples of errors where mottoes are partially or fully obliterated.

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