100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins Series: 2007-P John Adams Dollar, Doubled Edge Lettering

From its inception in 2007, the Presidential dollar program resonated with a lot of folks out there in the numismatic hobby. Whether they used them in circulation or collected the Proof, Reverse Proof, and Uncirculated versions, they were popular due to their simple yet effective designs honoring our former Presidents of the United States. However, just like many series of coins, they had their share of errors and mishaps, which created more collectable and rare issues.

One of those mishaps happened in the first year of its issue and is the focus of our next blog following along with Whitman Publishing’s fourth edition of the 100 Greatest United States Modern Coins. With help from authors Scott Schechter and Jeff Garrett, we will take a look at one of the four Presidential dollars issued in 2007 that landed itself smack dab in the middle of the list and was the second of the newly minted program to emanate from the poor execution of the Mint.

#57 - 2007-P John Adams Dollar, Doubled Edge Lettering

The second coin in the Presidential dollar series featuring John Adams was supposed to be a complete 180 from what occurred during George Washington’s release. The first coin featuring our First President of the United States of America was mistakenly released in the hundreds of thousands before they passed through the edge lettering machine. They were supposed to have the date, mintmark, and the inscriptions “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” While the missing mintmark and date did not bother anyone that much, it was the exclusion of IN GOD WE TRUST that seemed to bother collectors. Those Washington missing lettered edge coins were nicknamed the “Godless dollars.”

With all of that in mind, the Mint was determined to release the second coin without any hiccups. However, the edge lettering machine was the second process in the production of the already minted coins, creating a challenge that would employ the Philadelphia Mint to issue a new control process that would make sure that the necessary second step would not be missed. This new system would present its own set of issues as a large number of 2007-P John Adams dollars were minted with doubled edge lettering. This means that they were passed through the machine twice and applied the edge inscriptions multiple times. In fact, it was more likely that they would be passed through twice than having no edge lettering at all.

Estimates indicate that more than 50,000 Doubled Edge Lettering John Adams dollar coins were produced at Philadelphia and only around 10,000 were missing it completely. Those coins produced at Denver were even more rare and approximately only a few hundred are said to exist. Those that were doubled were said to either have been overlapped or inverted. Authors Schechter and Garrett state that “because the orientation of the edge-lettering is random, the second inscription can either be in the same direction as or opposite to the first.” Those that are overlapped have the inscriptions traveling in the same direction while the inverted are the opposite, meaning that one is upside down when compared to the other. The most readable inscriptions are those that show the overlapped legends, reading IINN GGOODD WWEE TTRRUUSSTT.