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Celebrate National Smile Day with a Smiling Coin!

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“When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you!” Or at least so says the popular song performed by the likes of jazz icon Louis Armstrong and many others. No matter the mood, you have at least one good reason to smile on May 31, because it’s National Smile Day. Coin collectors have an additional reason to smile, because they can celebrate this truly “happy holiday” with coins.

Now, when it comes to smiles on U.S. coins, you might find twinkling grins are about as scarce as hens’ teeth. If you look at any of the innumerable figures on U.S. coins going all the way back to the 1790s, when the first federal U.S. coins were struck, you’ll find very few true smiles on any of them. Most of the figures, both allegorical or historical, bear rather solemn faces, some of them even bearing downright stern countenances. While many of the figures we see on U.S. coins were serious people carrying heavy burdens of duty and were entitled to a moment or two of brooding, there are some coins with positively happy faces – even a toothy smile or two.

The smiley coins bear the likenesses of people who had their own weighty duties of honor to be sure. But they were also people whose personal lives were very much public and whose shows of jubilance could help lift the nation through some tough times. Let’s take a look at three of these happy faces right now…

Eleanor Roosevelt on the $10 First Spouse Coin
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is seen smiling on a 2014 First Spouse $10 coin. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Eleanor Roosevelt served the nation as its first lady from 1933 through 1945 alongside her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt – the first and only four-term United States president. A social activist and human rights champion, Eleanor Roosevelt made many public appearances throughout her years in the White House, often campaigning for equal rights or other causes of social good during a tumultuous period in the United States scarred by the Great Depression and later facing World War II. Her likeness appears on the 2014 $10 First Spouse coin that was issued alongside the Presidential $1 coin honoring her presidential husband.

Ronald Reagan on the Presidential $1 Coin
President Ronald Reagan looks happy on a 2016 Presidential $1 coin. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Ronald Reagan had an illustrious career as both Hollywood actor and politician, first starring on film in the 1930s in such movies as Love is on the Air and Dark Victory. He eventually appeared in more than 50 movies. By the 1960s, he was campaigning for big-name politicians before running for his own seat in elected office as California’s governor, a position he held for two terms from 1967 through 1975. By the end of his second gubernatorial term, he had his eyes on the highest seat in the land – president of the United States. He was inaugurated on January 20, 1981, as the nation’s 40th president, another role for which he was twice elected. Reagan is honored on a 2016 Presidential $1 Coin.

George H. W. Bush on the Presidential $1 Coin
President George H. W. Bush flashes a grin on the 2020 Presidential $1 coin. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Speaking of President Reagan, do you know who his vice president was? None other than George H.W. Bush, another person seen smiling on a U.S. coin. Bush served as vice president for both of Reagan’s presidential terms, spanning from 1981 through 1989, and overwhelmingly won the popular vote in 1988 to begin his own term in the White House. While he served only four years as the nation’s president, Bush became a senior statesperson who was trusted counsel for politicians on both sides of the proverbial aisle for many years after he left office. Bush is seen on the 2020 Presidential $1 coin.

Now, when it comes to smiles on U.S. coins, you might find twinkling grins are about as scarce as hens’ teeth. If you look at any of the innumerable figures on U.S. coins going all the way back to the 1790s, when the first federal U.S. coins were struck, you’ll find very few true smiles on any of them. Most of the figures, both allegorical or historical, bear rather solemn faces, some of them even bearing downright stern countenances. While many of the figures we see on U.S. coins were serious people carrying heavy burdens of duty and were entitled to a moment or two of brooding, there are some coins with positively happy faces – even a toothy smile or two.

The smiley coins bear the likenesses of people who had their own weighty duties of honor to be sure. But they were also people whose personal lives were very much public and whose shows of jubilance could help lift the nation through some tough times. Let’s take a look at three of these happy faces right now…

History U.S. Gold Bullion Issues Presidential Dollars

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