Hoover Complex unveils new $1 coin
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · June 25, 2014

A great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover and one of the men who helped select the design of the Hoover $1 coin poured 500 of them out of a U.S. Mint bag and onto a table to unveil the new coin at the Hoover Library-Museum.

The Hoover Presidential Foundation on June 19 gave away coins to a long line of children who attended the ceremony, with Leslie Hoover-Lauble greeting each one and asking their names. An estimated 150 children and adults attended the ceremony.

Hoover Library-Museum Director Tom Schwartz noted that this is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, when Hoover, then a mining engineer and consultant, left the private sector to organize relief efforts for the hungry in Europe. It was that step into public life that eventually led the West Branch native to run for president and enter the White House 15 years later. He would remain active in public life for 50 years before his death in 1964.

“He fed more people than any other,” Schwartz said Thursday, almost 50 years after Hoover’s death. “That is too often forgotten. There’s too much focus on the negative. … We need to reflect on the remarkable achievement of the Great Humanitarian.”

Hoover Presidential Foundation Executive Director Jerry Fleagle then introduced Michael Olson, who sat on the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee, one of two committees that selected the image of Hoover and the coin’s design.

“Without (Hoover) there is no Hoover Library-Museum and no Hoover Park,” Olson said to applause. “He is an inspiration that we can all improve (the world).”

The picture of Hoover is meant to depict him around the age of 54 to 58, which was his age as president. He lived to 90 years old.

The Waterloo native called it an “honor” to help design the coin, and noted that Lou Henry Hoover — also a Waterloo native — will appear on a $10 coin this fall as the U.S. Mint recognizes presidential wives. Both coins are legal tender; neither will be distributed into the banking system yet will be available for purchase through the U.S. Mint. The Hoover $1 coin is also available for purchase in the gift shop at the Library-Museum.

Olson said he hopes the $1 coins given to children at the national release will prompt some to begin collecting coins.

“There’s no better way to learn about history,” he said. “This is a little bit of history you can hold in your hands.”

Hoover-Lauble, who represented the Hoover family at the ceremony, remembers meeting the 31st president twice as a child and how the West Branch orphan had “an empathy for kids” and continued to work hard until the end of his life.

“There was more to great-great-granddad than those four years (as president),” she said. “He was really outstanding, and he just kept going.”

David Leshtz, speaking on behalf of U.S. Rep. David Loebsack, said the congressman always learns something new when he visits the Library-Museum.

“Too many know too little” of Hoover’s life, he said. “What he learned in West Branch paved the way for his achievements. … This $1 coin is a great honor to Herbert Hoover and Iowa. He cared for people around the world.”

Olson and Hoover-Lauble then poured a bag of 500 Hoover coins onto a table, after which Hoover-Lauble handed out coins to children standing in a line that stretched from the stage out of the Figge Auditorium and into the lobby.

U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia produced the coins.

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