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In God We Trust

From Treasury Department records it appears that the first suggestion that God be recognized on U.S. coinage can be traced to a letter addressed to the Secretary of Treasury from a minister in 1861.  An Act of Congress, approved on April 11, 1864, authorized the coinage of two-cent coins upon which the motto first appeared.

The motto was omitted from the new gold coins issued in 1907, causing a storm of public criticism.  As a result, legislation passed in May 1908 made "In God We Trust" mandatory on all coins on which it had previously appeared.

Legislation approved July 11, 1955, made the appearance of "In God We Trust" mandatory on all coins and paper currency of the United States.  By Act of July 30, 1956, "In God We Trust" became the national motto of the United States.

Several years ago, the appearance of "In God We Trust" on our money was challenged in the federal courts.  The challenge was rejected by the lower federal courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review the case.


The Presidents on Our Coins

The presidents that appear on the obverse (front) side of our circulating coins were all selected by Congress in recognition of their service to our country.  However, they were chosen under slightly different circumstances.

Designed by Victor Brenner, the Lincoln cent was issued in 1909 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.  Felix Schlag's portrait of Thomas Jefferson, which began to appear on the obverse side of the nickel in 1938, was chosen in a design competition among some 390 artists.

The death of Franklin Roosevelt prompted many requests to the Treasury Department to honor the late president by placing his portrait on a coin.  Less than one year after his death, the dime bearing John R. Sinnock's portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt was released to the public on FDR's birthday, January 30, 1946.

The portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, which appears on quarters minted from 1932 to today, was selected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of our first president's birth.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy generated such an outpouring of public sentiment that President Lyndon Johnson sent legislation to Congress to authorize the Treasury Department new 50-cent pieces.  Bearing the portrait designed by Gilroy Roberts, the first Kennedy half-dollars were minted on February 11, 1964.



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