Tough Trivia, 4/19/21

Friday’s question was: Cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar. The US has six circulating coin denominations. List them in order of the longevity of the current design. Bonus points if you can name whose face is on each obverse, and what design is on the corresponding reverses.

The answer is:

proofset2017Dime, 1946. The year after he died, the Mercury dime was phased out in honor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with a new torch, oak branch, and olive branch design on the reverse.

Half dollar, 1964. John Kennedy was assassinated in late 1963. In 1964, he bumped Benjamin Franklin off the half dollar, appearing with the seal of the President on the reverse. In 1976, the seal was replaced with an image of Independence Hall for the Bicentennial, but then the seal returned in 1977.

Nickel, 2006. In 1938, Thomas Jefferson’s portrait first appeared on the nickel, paired with his home, Monticello, on the reverse. In 2004 and 2005, there were four special designs honoring the bicentennial of Lewis & Clark’s expedition. In 2006, Monticello returned to the reverse with a new portrait of Jefferson on the obverse.

Cent, 2010. Abraham Lincoln’s portrait was placed on the obverse in 1909, with a wheat stalk reverse design. In 1959, the reverse was changed to an image of the Lincoln Memorial. In 2009, there were special reverse designs honoring Lincoln’s bicentennial. And in 2010, the current shield design first appeared on the reverse.

Quarter, less than three months ago. In 1932, George Washington first appeared on the obverse of the quarter, with a heraldic eagle on the reverse. In 1976, the quarter (and half dollar and dollar coins) had a special Bicentennial reverse design: a colonial military drummer. The eagle returned in 1977. In 1999, the State Quarter Series debuted, with a redesigned obverse, and five different reverses minted during the year, representing each of the states. After ten years, the Mint realized the changing designs were popular, and continued, covering DC and the territories in 2009, and then representing national parks and landmarks starting in 2010 (still, with five new designs each year).

Dollar, 2009 (sort of). In 2000, the smaller-than-a-half dollar sized, silver colored dollar coin with Susan B. Anthony’s portrait was replaced by the same-sized, gold colored dollar coin with Sacagawea on the obverse and a bald eagle in flight on the reverse. Starting in 2009, the reverse was changed to several different Native American themes. Since 2012, the Mint has only produced these coins for collector sets and stockpiles, because of their unpopularity. At the same time (2007–2016, plus more coming), the Mint produced Presidential dollar coins, with images of deceased Presidents on them. Again, for circulation, but since 2012, newly minted coins have not been released into circulation because of a lack of demand. Finally, beginning in 2018, the Mint began producing American Innovation dollars, with the State of Liberty on the obverse, and four different images (representing four different states) on the reverse. The Mint claims these are coins for circulation, but the lack of demand keeps them from entering circulation as normal.


Today’s question is: Only one US President has also served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Who was it? Similarly, only one US President has also served on the Supreme Court. Who was that?


Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

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2 thoughts on “Tough Trivia, 4/19/21

  1. Those would be James K. Polk and W. Howard Taft.

    No matter who won in the election of 1844 we would have had a President who had been Speaker of the House. (Henry Clay, the Whig, had also been Speaker.)

    So, who was the only President from Pennsylvania?


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