Visitors to President James K. Polk’s ancestral home in Columbia, Tenn., Aug. 20 were the first to get the Presidential dollar coins bearing his portrait. The Polk coin, 11th in the U.S. Mint’s Presidential dollar series, was made available following the Mint’s ceremony to officially present the coin to the nation.
To commemorate the event, each child 18 years old and younger received a newly minted James Polk Presidential dollar. Adults at the ceremony exchanged their currency for rolls of the new coin.
John Seigenthaler, renowned author and journalist, and John Holtzapple, director of the James K. Polk House, joined Andy Brunhart, Mint deputy director, to celebrate the coin’s release.
The coin’s obverse bears a portrait of the former president along with inscriptions “James K. Polk,” “In God We Trust,” “11th President” and “1845-1849.”
Incused on the coin’s edge are “2009,” “E Pluribus Unum” and the mintmark of origin (“P” or “D”).
President Polk, born in 1795 in North Carolina, was a strong advocate of Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States had the right to expand across the entire continent. During his administration, the country grew by more than 1 million square miles to include present-day Oregon, Washington, California and New Mexico. A Texas border on the Rio Grande also was established during his administration.
As promised during his presidential campaign, Polk left office after serving just one term. He died in Nashville, Tenn., in 1849, just three and a half months after leaving office.
Polk Presidential dollars are available from the Mint’s Web site, www.usmint.gov, in 25-coin rolls from either the Philadelphia or Denver facilities.