Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar Coins Now Available from U.S. Mint's Direct Ship Program

Tomorrow it will be 2 years since I first posted an article about my initial experience with the U.S. Mint's Direct Ship Program for Sacagawea and Presidential dollars. I have written on occasion over those 2 years about my experience with the program, both positive and negative.

Today is one of those positive days.

Recently the U.S. Mint made the 2010 Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln Presidential dollars available via their Direct Ship Program. In the past, it has usually been only the earliest coins that have been available (i.e. Washington, Adams, etc.).  Since many banks have ceased to order the newer dollars, I think it is a smart move for the Mint to include the newer coins as part of the program.

I believe many of the customers buying the coins through the Direct Ship Program are probably collectors. Most of them are probably not going to keep buying the Washington dollars over and over again just to help circulate them. However, as each new President comes out, they may buy of box of them, keeping a roll or two for their collections, and spending the rest.

I personally bought a box each of Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan dollars yesterday since I could not find a single bank near me that had them. One bank said they stopped ordering dollar coins over a year ago and didn't plan to order any more in the future.

In addition to the recent Presidential dollars being included in the Direct Ship Program, the 2001 Sacagawea dollars have also been added to the program. I bought a box of them about a month ago and have actually had fun spending them. I'm finding that most store clerks by now have seen a Presidential dollar, but Sacagawea dollars are completely foreign to them. Most tend to comment on how beautiful the coin is.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Direct Ship Program, it is a program introduced by the U.S. Mint whose purpose "is to make $1 coins readily available to the public, at no additional cost, so they can be easily introduced into circulation." Customers can order the coins at face value with free shipping as long as they agree to spend and not deposit them directly into a bank. The purpose is to help get the coins into circulation.

When I wrote the first article two years ago, I had such a hard time spending the new coins that I almost gave up. Today clerks are more familiar with them and therefore more accepting of them. The proliferation of self-checkouts at grocery and other stores has helped as the newer machines take the dollar coins much faster than a dollar bill. I've seen many older vending machines that didn't accept the coins be replaced by new machines that do.

Although dollar coins will probably not circulate widely as long as the dollar bill is still around, I don't doubt that the dollar bill will one day be phased out. So you might as well go to the U.S. Mint website and order a box of dollar coins and start getting used to spending them.

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