“In God We Trust” on 2009 Presidential Dollars

The motto “In God We Trust” has been the official national motto of the United States since 1956. It first appeared on United States coinage in 1864, and since 1938, all U.S. coins have included the inscription.

William Henry Harrison Presidential Dollar
2009 Presidential Dollar

Following the signing of H.R. 2764 “The Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2008,” the Presidential Dollar edge lettering underwent changes for 2009. Specifically, the law required that the motto “In God We Trust” be featured on either the obverse or the reverse of the Presidential Dollar.

The change followed some public controversy about the “missing” motto. When initially released, some widely circulated chain emails and articles called for a boycott of the new dollar coins. According to these sources, the motto “In God We Trust” had been intentionally omitted from the coins as an attempt to “phase God out of America.” Even though this was false, many still wanted the motto moved to its former place of prominence.

Until then, the previous Presidential Dollars issued during 2007 and 2008 featured the motto on the edge of the coin. Starting with the 2009 Presidential Dollars, the motto was moved to the obverse of the coin.

Presidential Dollar Edge Lettering
Presidential Dollar Edge Lettering

Incuse-edge lettering continued to be used for the series, but with modification. The new edge would replace the the motto “In God We Trust” with 13 stars to take its place. Thirteen stars have been used on prior U.S. coinage to symbolize the original 13 States. The edge inscriptions would feature seven five-pointed stars, the date, the mint mark, then six five-pointed stars, and the motto “E Pluribus Unum.”

This same edge is used on the Native American Dollars which debuted in 2009.

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