U.S. Coins: Who's On Them

US Coins: Who’s on them? Here are the Presidents on each coin

We use U.S. coins everyday. But how often do we take a minute examine the coins closely?

Can you name who’s on the dime? Or what’s on the backside of the nickel?

Don’t worry if you can’t. By the end of this short article you’ll know who’s on every single U.S. coin and when they were minted.

Presidents on US Coins

Here are the presidents and faces on all the common U.S coins:

Name of Coin Denomination (value) Face on U.S. Coins Picture of Coin Mint Dates
Half Cent $0.005 Draped Bust The Draped Bust is on the Half CentReverse side of the Half Cent 1792 – 1857
Penny $0.01 President Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln is on the front of the PennyThe Union Shield is on the backside of the Penny 1909 – present
Nickel $0.05 President Thomas Jefferson President Thomas Jefferson is on the NickelMonticello is on the backside of the Nickel 1866 – present
Dime $0.10 President Franklin D. Roosevelt Reverse-side of the dime. 1796 – present
Quarter $0.25 President George Washington George Washington is on the QuarterThe Eagle is on the backside of the Quarter 1796, 1804–1807, 1815–1828, 1831–1932, 1934-present
Half Dollar $0.50 President John F. Kennedy John F Kennedy is on the Half Dollar Reverse side of the Half Dollar Depicting an Eagle 1794 – present
Eisenhower Dollar $1.00 President Dwight David Eisenhower President Eisenhower is on the frontBack of the eisenhower dollar showing eagle 1971 – 1978
American Silver Eagle $1.00 Lady Liberty Front of Silver Eagle Dollar depicting Lady LibertyBackside of silver eagle dollar showing eagle 1986 – present
Susan B. Anthony Dollar $1.00 Susan B. Anthony Susan B Anthony DollarBackside of Susan B Anthony Dollar showing Eagle 1979-1981, 1999
Sacagawea Dollar $1.00 Sacagawea Sacagawea Dollar Front-side Depicting SacagaweaSacagawea Dollar Backside depicting Eagle 2000 – present
Presidential Dollar Coins $1.00 The first 40 presidents starting from George Washington and ending with Ronal d Reagan 2007 John Adams Presidential Coin Depicting John Adams2007 John Adams Presidential Coin Back Side 2007 – 2016

Image source: Wikipedia

Who is on the half cent?

The half cent is the only US coin without someone recognizable on it. Depending on the year it was minted, the US half cent depicts the Liberty Cap, Draped Bust, or the Classic Head. These are all busts and don’t depict anyone in particular.

The half cent is the lowest denomination of US currency and was first minted in 1793. Production of the half cent ended in 1857.

Who is on the penny?

President Abraham Lincoln has been on the US penny since 1909.

The backside of the penny shows the Lincoln Memorial. However, in 2010, a new backside design was implemented. This new design depicts the Union Shield. You can see what that looks like below:

The Union Shield Design of the Penny

Fun fact: In 2010, the metal that is used to create pennies rose in price: $0.02 for each penny created. This led to the penny debate being front-focus of the news cycle for a time. However there no plans to eliminate the penny as of now.

Who is on the nickel?

President Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel. The reverse-side of the nickel depicts Jefferson’s home, Monticello.

While the nickel has been in production since 1866, the Thomas Jefferson nickel we all know so well wasn’t minted until 1938. In fact, it was the 4th iteration of the design on the nickel.

From 1866 to 1883, the nickel was adorned by a shield and known as the Shield nickel. The design on the nickel changed again in 1883 to depict the Liberty Head. This was done in an attempt to increase the usage and popularity of the nickel. This design lasted until 1913, when President Theodore Roosevelt hired a sculptor to make us coins more artistic and better-looking. The sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the famous Buffalo nickel. 25 years later, the US Mint held a competition to find a new nickel design. Felix Schlag won the competition with Thomas Jefferson’s face on the frontside and his Monticello home on the backside.

Buffalo Nickel Liberty Head Nickel Shield Nickel
The Buffalo Nickel (Front and Back) The Liberty Head Nickel (Front + Back) The Shield Nicke (Front + Back)

Who is on the dime?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt is on the dime.

Just like the nickel, the dime has gone through many design changes since it was originally minted in 1796. Here are the six different designs:

  • Draped Bust (1796-1807)
  • Capped Bust (1809 – 1837)
  • Seated Liberty (1837 – 1891)
  • Barber (1892 – 1916)
  • Mercury (1916 – 1945)
  • Roosevelt (1946 – now)

Who is on the quarter?

President George Washington is on the quarter.

The reverse-side of the quarter showed an eagle until the 1999 50 State Quarters Program. This program, which lasted from 1999 to 2008, featured special designs for each U.S. state on the reverse side of the quarter.

all us state quarters
All 50 U.S. State Quarters

Who is on the 50 cent coin (half dollar)?

The 50 cent coin, also known as the half dollar, features the face of President John F. Kennedy.

The reverse-side of the half dollar depicts the Seal of the President of the United States.

The half-dollar has been in production since 1794 and has gone through many design changes since then:

  • Flowing Hair (1794–1795)
  • Draped Bust (1796–1807)
  • Capped Bust (1807–1839)
  • Seated Liberty (1839–1891)
  • Barber (1892–1915)
  • Walking Liberty (1916–1947)
  • Franklin (1948–1963)
  • Kennedy (1964)
  • Kennedy (1992–present)

Who is on the dollar coin?

Sacagawea (and her child) are on the most common dollar coin.

However, there are plenty of designs of the dollar coin which are still in circulation.

The Eisenhower dollar depicts the likeness of President Dwight David Eisenhower. It was minted from 1971 to 1978

The Susan B Anthony dollar depicts, you guessed it, Susan B. Anthony. This version of the dollar coin was minted from 1979 to 1981 and then again in 1999.

The Sacagawea dollar was first minted in 2000 is still being produced today.

Wondering how much a dollar coin weighs? Or how about a penny?

Interested in U.S. currency besides U.S. coins?

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