The Fascinating Story of the John Adams Dollar Coin

The John Adams dollar coin holds a special place in American history. Issued in 2007 as part of the Presidential Dollar series, this coin commemorates the second president of the United States, John Adams. Serving from 1797 to 1801, Adams played a pivotal role in the American Revolution and was instrumental in the founding of the country.

Unveiling the John Adams Dollar Coin

The John Adams dollar coin was unveiled on May 17, 2007, making it the second coin in the Presidential Dollar series, following the George Washington coin. The aim of this series was to honor the presidents of the US by featuring their portraits on dollar coins. It also served as an educational tool to enlighten the public about the presidents’ contributions to the nation’s history.

Minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco, the John Adams dollar coin had a total mintage of 228,525,989. However, due to the limited popularity of the series, many of these coins were not widely circulated, making them relatively scarce.

John Adams Dollar Coin - Background
Source: Cairngorm Docs

Identifying the John Adams Dollar Coin

The obverse of the John Adams dollar coin features a portrait of John Adams, along with the inscribed words “JOHN ADAMS” and “2nd PRESIDENT 1797-1801.” The design was created by the renowned US Mint engraver Don Everhart.

On the reverse side, you’ll find an image of the Statue of Liberty, accompanied by the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “$1”. This design, created by Joel Iskowitz, is commonly used on many other presidential dollar coins.

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John Adams Dollar Coin - Identification
Source: Cairngorm Docs

With a diameter of 26.5 millimeters, a thickness of 2.0 millimeters, and a weight of 8.1 grams, the John Adams dollar coin has a distinctive golden color. It is composed of a copper core with a manganese-brass outer layer, giving it its unique appearance.

The Value of the John Adams Dollar Coin

The value of a John Adams dollar coin depends on several factors, including its condition, rarity, and demand among collectors. On average, these coins are worth a few dollars, up to approximately $10. However, rare errors can significantly increase their value, with some fetching hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In fact, the highest recorded auction record for a John Adams dollar coin reached an impressive $3,335 in 2009!

Here are some notable auction records for various John Adams dollar coin errors:

  • 2007-P $1 John Adams Position A (MS64) – Sold for $2,300 in 2009, due to a rare error of being struck twice on an aluminum feeder finger fragment.
  • 2007-P $1 John Adams, Double Edge Lettering – Overlap – Sold for $288 in February 2022. Only 24 coins with this error are known to exist.
  • 2007-P $1 1st Day of Issue (MS65) – Sold for $220 in 2012. This coin featured a doubled edge inverted lettering error.
  • 2007-P $1 John Adams, Doubled Edge Lettering, Inverted – Sold for $489 in May 2008. This rare error coin had missing edge lettering, with the lettering described as inverted. The population of this error coin is 34.
  • 2007-P $1 Missing Edge Lettering – The top auction record for a John Adams dollar coin reached a staggering $3,335 in 2009. This error coin features a presidential dollar with missing edge lettering and is made of 9grs aluminum.
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John Adams Dollar Coin - Numista
Source: Cairngorm Docs

Grading Your John Adams Dollar Coin

Grading your own John Adams dollar coin is crucial in determining its value accurately. While it’s recommended to consult grading experts for an accurate assessment, here are a few tips for grading your coin:

  1. Examine the details: Carefully inspect the portrait of John Adams and the Statue of Liberty for any scratches, dents, or damage that may affect the coin’s value.
  2. Check the edges: The edges of the coin should be smooth and uniform. Any imperfections, such as nicks or dings, can lower the coin’s grade and value.
  3. Look for luster: Ideally, the coin should have a bright, shiny luster. A dull or discolored appearance can lower its grade.
  4. Consult a grading guide: There are many grading guides available online to assist you in accurately assessing your coin’s grade.

Buying and Selling Collectible Coins

If you’re interested in buying or selling collectible coins, including the John Adams dollar coin, consider the following steps:

  1. Do your research: Gain knowledge about the coin’s value, rarity, and demand by consulting recent auction records, exploring online marketplaces, and seeking advice from experts.
  2. Buy from reputable dealers: When purchasing collectible coins, ensure you buy from reputable dealers who have extensive knowledge and are members of professional organizations like the American Numismatic Association (ANA) or the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG).
  3. Verify authenticity: Due to the potential for counterfeiting, it’s essential to check for mint marks, scrutinize the details, and consult experts to ensure the coin’s authenticity.
  4. Protect your coins: As a collector, it’s crucial to keep your coins safe from damage, theft, and other risks. Invest in a secure safe or safety deposit box and handle your coins with care to prevent scratches or other damage.
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John Adams Dollar Coin - USA Coin Book
Source: Cairngorm Docs

By following these steps, you can engage in the world of buying and selling collectible coins with confidence.


Q: What is the value of a John Adams dollar coin in circulated condition?

A: A John Adams dollar coin in circulated condition is typically worth around $1, but if minted in San Francisco, it may be valued up to $5.

Q: What is the difference between circulated, uncirculated, and proof condition?

A: Circulated coins have been used in commerce and may show signs of wear and tear, such as scratches or discoloration. Uncirculated coins are in excellent condition and have not been used in commerce. Proof coins are specially made for collectors, featuring a high level of detail and a mirror-like surface finish.

Q: What is the difference between coins minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco?

A: Coins minted in different locations bear different mint marks. Those minted in Philadelphia have no mint mark, those from Denver have a D mint mark, and those from San Francisco have an S mint mark.

Q: Why are John Adams dollar coins relatively scarce?

A: The John Adams dollar coin was only in circulation from 2007 to 2008 before being replaced by the next coin in the Presidential dollar coin series. Additionally, many of these coins were likely removed from circulation and stored by collectors, further reducing the supply available.

Q: Are John Adams dollar coins a good investment?

A: While some coins may appreciate in value over time, there are no guarantees. Investing in collectible coins, including the John Adams dollar coin, should primarily be done for enjoyment and personal interest rather than solely as an investment.

Remember, the world of coins is a fascinating one. Sharing your knowledge and passion with others is always rewarding!

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