A ceremonial pour of 2,000 Martin Van Buren Presidential dollars Dec. 5 at the Kinderhook, N.Y., Cemetery marked the 226th birthday of the nation’s eighth President and the ceremonial introduction of the latest design in the Presidential $1 coin series.
Braving temperatures in the low 20s, some 500 people joined Mayor Bill Van Alstyne, Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart and other dignitaries for the grave-side event.
“He was a self-made man,” said Brunhart in his remarks about Van Buren.
“Not only was he an artful politician, but he also helped shape our political system as we know it today,” Brunhart explained.
Known as the “Red Fox of Kinderhook” and other nicknames like the “Little Magician” and the “Mistletoe Politician,” Van Buren’s career saw him rise from a clerk in a legal firm who studied law at night to become governor of New York, U.S. Secretary of State in Andrew Jackson’s cabinet, ambassador to Great Britain, U.S. senator, vice president and President.
His willingness to leave the post of Secretary of State cemented his political alliance with Jackson and resulted in Old Hickory picking him for vice president in 1832 and then supporting his bid for the Presidency in the close-run election of 1836.
Obverse designer Joel Iskowitz attended the ceremony.
The Van Buren coin is the last to have “In God We Trust” on the edge. In 2009, the motto moves to the obverse.
Free coins were given to children under 18 and some 250 4th and 5th graders from Martin Van Buren Elementary School were on hand to claim their prize.
Adults could buy them by the roll for the $25 face value.
Collectors who want to buy them can visit the Mint’s Web site at www.usmint.gov for pricing and order information.
The Van Buren estate of Lindenwald is in Kinderhook. He retired there after he was defeated in 1840 for re-election.