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Surprise – a new dollar comes out Friday

Ready for another dateless dollar coin?

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How about one without a mintmark or “E Pluribus Unum?”

This is not going to happen, but some collectors might think it has when they first see the new 2018 American Innovation dollar coin that will go on sale at noon Eastern Time on Friday, Dec. 14.

The whole upper half of the obverse seems so empty as to scream for something to be added.

The date, mintmark, and E PLURIBUS UNUM motto will be on the edge, just like they are on the annual Native American dollars.

However, I don’t think it unfair to say that many collectors don’t like this date placement on the Native American coins.

Decades of experience have trained them to look for a date on the obverse.

When they don’t find one, their first thought will be to wonder where the heck it is – even that it is missing.

Of course, it will slowly sink in that the date might be on the edge.

But with all the empty space on the obverse, the logical question is why hide the date on the edge?

The American Innovation dollar series is kind of a stealth program anyway.

It was not meant to be, but because the authorization passed Congress so late in 2018, the Mint has been rushing to get the first coin in the series released as the law calls for.

This will then be followed by four new designs in 2019 and four more each year through 2032 – another 56.

These “local” designs will begin like state quarters were, as concepts submitted to the Mint by the respective governors or executive officers.

According to the Mint, the series “symbolizes quintessentially American traits – the willingness to explore, to discover, and to create one’s own destiny. The program showcases an innovation, innovator, or group of innovators from each state or territory.”

While nearly all designs will represent something from each state or territory, the very first design is generic.

It honors the concept of innovation on a national scale with George Washington’s signature on the reverse as it appeared on the very first American patent.

The brilliant proof coin will be priced at $6.95 each and have the “S” mintmark on the edge.

Its arrival will mean that the standard proof coin sets of 2018 are all incomplete.

Bags and rolls of uncirculated dollar coins will also go on sale Dec. 14, too.

Twenty-five coin rolls from Philadelphia and Denver will be $32.95 each.

One hundred coin bags will be $111.95.

The usual handling charges apply.

Will having the date on the edge of the new dollar deter buyers?

We will wait and see.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."