By Louis Golino for CoinWeek....
At 11:00 today, the new Herbert Hoover presidential dollar coin will be released at a ceremony to be held at the Hoover Presidential Library-Museum in West Branch, Iowa. The event is jointly sponsored by the library-museum and the Hoover Presidential Foundation and will take place in the Figge Auditorium.
The key speakers at the event will be Leslie Hoover-Lauble, great-granddaughter of President Hoover and Michael A. Olson, who recently completed a four and a half year term serving on the Citizens Coinage Advisory Commission. During his tenure Mr. Olson was involved in the selection of the design for the Hoover dollar. A representative of the Mint is also expected to participate in the ceremony.
President Hoover’s wife, Lou Henry Hoover, was born in Mr. Olson’s hometown in Waterloo, Iowa. Mr. Olson is a life-long coin collector.
The first 100 children under 14 will be presented with a free coin by Ms. Hoover-Lauble, and the coins will also be available for sale in 25-coin rolls of Philadelphia and Denver Mint coins and the 4-coin presidential dollar proof sets for 2014, which the library purchased at retail cost from the U.S. Mint to promote the coins. In addition, there will be a photo op involving the pouring of 500 of the dollar coins.
The U.S. Mint will also begin selling P and D rolls, 100-coin bags, and 250-coin bags starting on the same day through the Mint’s web site and telephone ordering system.
The obverse of the coin depicts President Hoover, who lived to be 90, as he looked when he was serving as president, which was when he was 54 to 58. It was designed by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Phebe Hemphill based on photographs that were provided by the Hoover library-museum. The reverse depicts the Statue of Liberty as do the previous coins in the presidential dollar series.
In 2011 after it was reported that the Mint had 1.4 billion presidential dollars in its inventory, production of the coins was curtailed, and they were no longer issued for general circulation. Since 2012 the coins have been sold at a premium to collectors and are minted in much smaller quantities than they were between 2007 and 2011.
Hoover was the 31st U.S. president and served from 1929 to 1933. He also played a key role in humanitarian relief efforts during World War I and served as U.S. Commerce Secretary.
Tom Schwartz, who is the director of the Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, said the purpose of the coin release for his institution is to highlight the importance of President Hoover’s legacy as president and as a major humanitarian activist.
Hoover served as head of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I, and his work in that capacity helped raise over $1 billion for relief efforts that assisted millions of people in war-torn Belgium and France. After the war he worked with American Relief Administration, which provided food, medical, and clothing relief to millions of people in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia as well as Turkey.
Mr. Schwartz also noted that during his public service career that spanned 50 years, Hoover’s work helped to feed close to one billion people, adding that “The coins serve as a physical reminder” of that important and not well-known legacy. Most people tend to think of Hoover as “a failed Depression-era president, but there is so much more to the story.” Many of the 45-50,000 annual visitors to the library-museum say they were unaware of Hoover’s humanitarian work.
Mr. Schwartz expects there to be a sell-out of the coins on release day. Afterwards he plans to purchase more coins and have them packaged by a commercial vendor for sale at the gift shop. Similar packaging for presidential dollar coins that helps to promote interest in the president is used with coins for sale at other presidential libraries and museums. When they are available from the Mint in July, the special presidential coin first day covers for the Hoover coin will also be sold at the library-museum.
Since this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the Hoover library-museum is running special exhibits that highlight all the humanitarian work of President Hoover during that period. There are also exhibits that deal with the legacy of Hoover’s wife, Lou Henry Hoover, and a special exhibit that ends in October on America’s First Ladies.
Copyright © CoinWeek – June 2014
Louis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin World, Numismatic News, and a number of different coin web sites. His insightful retrospective on the American Silver Eagle was the cover feature of the February 2014 issue of The Numismatist. His column for CoinWeek, “The Coin Analyst,” covers U.S. and world coins and precious metals. He collects U.S. and European coins and is a member of the ANA,PCGS, NGC, and CAC. He has also worked for the U.S. Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of newspapers and web sites.