Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Minty Fresh

OK, so Sacajewea was not popular on the dollar coin, so what does the U.S. Mint plan to dostarting next year? Why, Presidents, of course. Fear not, however, while they will begin with Washington and proceed in order, we need not worry about stained dress and Iraqi quagmire debates; the Mint is stopping with Watergate. In a little over nine years we will have a couple more presidential elections and should see numbers 38 and 39 die of old age, clearing the way for at least three more coins (Reagan, of course, is already in the ground, so number 40 is covered).

I suppose this has a certain educational value in that students growing up during that period will learn the order of succession, but here are the highlights.

Grover Cleveland, the only President to serve non-consecutive terms (Teddy Roosevelt failed to get back in as the Bull Moose party candidate after four years of watching veep-turned-prez Taft undo Roosevelt's policies), will get two coins in 2012.

William Henry Harrison will be minted, like the rest, for three months, making the period he gets honored on U.S. currency exceed his term of office by two months. He died of pneumonia after only a month in office, having insisted on giving his excessively long innaugural address, against sound advice, in terrible weather; the resulting pneumonia gave us Tyler, too.

James Garfield will be minted for almost half the period he served in office. As one of the four U.S. Presidents to be assassinated, Garfield served the second shortest period of any, lasting only a little over six months before succumbing to injuries related to a bullet unfound in his body after he was shot in a Washington D.C. train station.

Every U.S. military engagement will be represented, through the Korean Conflict. The fall of Saigon took place during President Ford's tenure, meaning that if the Mint extends its designs to include those former Presidents who die before the completion of the program, we will likely be left with everything through Vietnam, and possibly through Desert Storm (George Herbert Walker Bush is currently 82, and the program will not end before he enters his 90s, assuming he proves as hardy as Carter).


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