The eyes of third- and fourth-graders may grow as wide as silver dollars next week when a bewigged and costumed "living biographer" of George Washington strides into Poe Elementary to tout the U.S. Mint's new dollar coin, the first in a series honoring the nation's presidents.
The Houston children will be among the first Americans to view the coin, which is set to begin circulating Feb. 15. The coin, featuring the likeness of Washington on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the back, also will be unveiled in Chicago.
In approving the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, Congress lauded the program as an educational aid for the American public, many of whom, leaders contended, are unfamiliar with presidential history. The program is modeled loosely after the series of 25-cent pieces that featured the nation's states.
One more thing:
Gloria Eskridge, the mint's associate director for sales and marketing, said millions of the coins, which will be the same size and gold color of the Sacagawea dollars now in circulation, will be produced in mints in Philadelphia and Denver. Additional coins honoring presidents, in order of their incumbency, will be issued quarterly.
Mint spokesman Michael White said only presidents who have been dead at least two years will be honored in the series. At this point, the series will stop with President Ford, who died in December. If the next president in line, Jimmy Carter, still is living after Ford's dollar is minted, the series will "pause," White said.