Table of Contents
- James Buchanan Dollar Coin Value Chart
- History of the James Buchanan dollar coin
- Features of the James Buchanan dollar coin
- James Buchanan dollar coin value guides
- 2010 P James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B value
- 2010 D James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B value
- 2010 S James Buchanan dollar coin, proof, deep cameo value
- 2010 P James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B, satin finish value
- 2010 D James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B, satin finish value
- James Buchanan dollar coin error List
James Buchanan was the 15th President of the USA, and in 2010 he was immortalized on the nation’s coinage. But are any of those coins worth money to collectors?
Here we learn more about the James Buchanan dollar coin value. We’ll investigate what separates an average coin from something special. And we’ll discover just how much rarer examples can be worth.
Ready to learn more? Step this way!
James Buchanan Dollar Coin Value Chart
|2010 P James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position A Value||$1||$3||$7||$150||n/a|
|2010 P James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position B Value||$1||$1||$6||$100||n/a|
|2010 D 1789-1797 James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position A Value||$1||$1||$6||n/a||n/a|
|2010 D James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position B Value||$1||$1||$5||n/a||n/a|
|2010 S James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Proof, Deep Cameo Value||$1||$3||$4||$5||$32|
|2010 P James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position A, Satin Finish Value||$3||$4||$5||$15||$350|
|2010 P James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position B, Satin Finish Value||$3||$4||$5||$20||$850|
|2010 D James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position A Satin Finish Value||$3||$4||$5||$15||$275|
|2010 D James Buchanan Dollar Coin, Position B, Satin Finish Value||$3||$4||$5||$17||$400|
History of the James Buchanan dollar coin
The Presidential series of dollar coins was launched in 2007 and was intended to honor deceased US presidents. The main series ran from 2007 to 2016, but a final coin was produced in 2020 after the death of President George H. W. Bush.
The coins were issued in the order of the presidents’ terms of office. Each coin was issued for three months, before the Mint moved onto the next.
As the fifteenth president, James Buchanan’s coin was launched in August 2010. Just over 73 million coins were minted. That total was split between the Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver (Philly struck 280,000 more than Denver).
The Presidential coins had an unusual feature: the date and mint mark were inscribed on the edge. And also unusual was the fact that other dollar coins were issued alongside the Presidential dollars. Both Sacagawea dollars and another series, honoring “First Spouses”, were issued at the same time.
Legislation required that every third dollar coin produced should be a Sacagawea dollar. This requirement was quickly cut to one in every five coins.
The First Spouse coins were launched alongside those of their husbands, but they weren’t subject to the same eligibility requirements. In theory, then, this could have been the first time that a living person had appeared on a US coin.
In the event this didn’t happen – although Nancy Reagan died only a few months before her coin was issued.
Not all presidents, of course, were married. In those cases, a second dollar coin was still produced, but it bore the image of Lady Liberty on the obverse. For Chester A. Arthur, who served his term as a widower, the image of the suffragist Alice Paul was used instead.
Features of the James Buchanan dollar coin
Obverse of the James Buchanan dollar coin
As with all the Presidential dollar coins, the obverse bears the image of the president in question.
The portrait of James Buchanan was the work of artist Phebe Hemphill. Hemphill joined the US Mint in 2008, having previously worked for the private Franklin Mint.
Her portrait shows Buchanan three-quarters on, with just his head and neck visible. He wears a somewhat quizzical expression, and the top of his shirt, cravat and jacket can be seen.
His full name arches over his portrait. The motto “In God We Trust” and the inscription “15th President 1857-1861” follow the coin edge below it.
Reverse of the James Buchanan dollar coin
The reverse of the James Buchanan dollar coin has the same image as the rest of the series. It shows the head and upper body of Lady Liberty, as viewed from below. The arm raising her torch aloft is prominent in the design, which is formally titled “Liberty Enlightening the World”.
It’s the work of the American sculptor Don Everhart. Everhart has worked for the Philadelphia Mint facility since 2004, and has produced designs for over 1,000 medals and coins during his career.
The words “United States of America” encircle the design, while the denomination of “$1” sits below Liberty’s outstretched arm. The font used is ITC Benguiat.
Other features of the James Buchanan dollar coin
As with the other Presidential dollar coins, the edge of the James Buchanan version is inscribed. This is where you’ll find the mint mark and the year of issue, 2010.
The edge also carries thirteen stars and the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. The phrase is Latin for “From the many, one” and refers to the creation of the United States.
Before 2009, the edge lettering also carried the motto “In God We Trust”. By the time of the Buchanan dollar, however, this had moved to the obverse.
Each coin measures 26.5 millimeters in diameter and weighs 8.1 grams. It has a copper core clad in a combination of 77 per cent copper, 12 per cent zinc and 1 per cent “other”. The result is a coin with an attractive pale gold finish.
You can see an example of a Philadelphia James Buchanan dollar coin on this YouTube video from Coin World UK.
James Buchanan dollar coin value guides
2010 P James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B value
The Philadelphia Mint facility struck 36,820,000 James Buchanan dollars. They can be identified by the mint mark, an upper case “P” on the coin edge.
Because they were minted in such large numbers, they are still in plentiful supply. That means that the vast majority of these coins will be worth no more than their face value.
Coins in excellent condition, however, can be worth a little more. And the very finest examples command a serious premium. So what counts as excellent condition?
Coins are graded on a scale of 1 to 70. 1 denotes a coin in poor condition, where you can only just make out the year and denomination. A coin graded 70 is flawless.
In order for a 2010 Philadelphia James Buchanan dollar to be worth more than its face value, it will need to be graded at least MS60. The “MS” stands for “mint state”, and means the coin has never been circulated.
The value varies slightly depending on whether the coin in question is a “Position A” or “Position B” type.
These categories are determined by the orientation of the lettering on the coin edge. If it reads upside down when the portrait of the President is facing up, it’s Position A. If the lettering is the right way up when the coin is facing the same way, it’s Position B.
Position A coins are slightly rarer and hence more valuable to collectors. The independent coin graders, the PCGS, value an MS60 example at $3. Values rise gradually to $7 for a coin graded MS65, the lowest level at which coins are known as “gem quality”.
Go up a point to MS66, and that value rises to $12. But the finest known examples are a point higher. Thirteen of those have been certified by the PCGS. And one was sold at auction on eBay in 2020, fetching an impressive $150.
For a Position B coin to be worth more than its face value, it will need to be graded at least MS63. Coins at that level are valued by the PCGS at $2, rising to $15 at MS66.
Quality again tops out at MS67, and the PCGS has graded 23 coins at that level. The auction record for one of those was again set by an eBay auction in 2020. That coin sold for $100.
2010 D James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B value
As we’ve seen, slightly fewer Buchanan dollars were struck in Denver than in Philly. They have an upper case “D” on the coin edge. But with over 36 million coming out of the coin presses in 2010, they’re still far from rare.
Just as with their Philadelphia counterparts, a coin will need to be in exceptional condition to be worth more than its face value. And again, the orientation of the lettering on the coin edge is relevant to the value of premium coins.
Denver Buchanan dollars must be graded at least MS65 to be worth more than a dollar. At that grade, they’ll be worth about $5 or $6, with collectors prepared to pay slightly more for Position A examples.
The highest grades for which the PCGS offers estimates are MS66. A Position A coin at that grade will be worth around $25, with a Position B example around $10 less.
The auction record for a Position B coin was set on eBay in 2022. Despite being graded MS68, with no finer coins yet having come to light, it sold for a mere $25.
The record for a Position A coin is higher, but still shows that you can get the finest Buchanan dollars for very reasonable prices. The coin in question was graded MS69 and sold on eBay in 2020 for $129.
2010 S James Buchanan dollar coin, proof, deep cameo value
In addition to the business strikes issued by Philadelphia and Denver, the San Francisco Mint facility produced proof Buchanan dollars. These were struck using specially prepared dies on highly polished planchets. More than 2.2 million coins were produced, and they were targeted at collectors.
As a result, they were carefully stored away, and even the best coins command only modest prices. A coin graded PR60 (the “PR” stands for proof) is worth only a dollar. And even a flawless example graded PR70 is worth only around $32.
All Buchanan dollar proofs are what’s known as “deep cameos”, with an attractive contrast between frosted devices and glossy fields.
2010 P James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B, satin finish value
Another version of the Buchanan dollar coin is known as a “special strike”. These coins had a satin finish and were produced at both the Philadelphia and Denver facilities. Like the business strikes, there are Position A and Position B variants.
They were produced for Special Mint Sets, so all are in uncirculated condition. Most are worth only a few dollars, but the very finest are more valuable.
At SP68, you can pick up a Position A coin for around $15 and a Position B for about $20.
But move up a point and that value rockets. A 2010 Philadelphia Position A dollar graded SP69 is valued by the PCGS at $350. The Position B equivalent is worth about $850.
2010 D James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A and Position B, satin finish value
The value of the Denver special strike Buchanan dollars is similar at most grades to the Philadelphia versions. But there’s a big jump in value for “best in class” examples.
For both the Position A and Position B variants, the finest known coins are graded SP69. The PCGS values a Position A coin at that grade at $275, and the equivalent Position B at $400.
James Buchanan dollar coin error List
(2010) James Buchanan dollar coin, satin finish, missing edge lettering
As we’ve seen, it’s usually only the finest quality James Buchanan dollar coins that are worth more than their face value. But coins with Mint errors are also rare and collectable.
The best known of the errors on Buchanan dollar coins is missing edge lettering. This was an issue for business strike coins throughout the Presidential dollar series. But for the Buchanan dollar, it also appeared on some of the special strike coins. And these are much rarer.
So if you find a James Buchanan dollar with a satin finish and a plain edge, it could be worth good money. The PCGS has so far certified only one of these coins. That was graded SP66 and is valued at $1,150.
But if you find one of these coins being sold, take care! It’s easy to file off the edge lettering from standard coins. So check that the coin has been authenticated by a reputable grading agency before you spend a lot of money.
2010 P James Buchanan dollar coin, Position A, weak edge lettering
Some of the James Buchanan dollar coins minted in Philadelphia had their edge lettering present, but weakly struck. This was an issue with the Position A variant.
Prices for these coins depend on their quality. An example graded MS63 will be worth around $15. At the other end of the scale, four coins have been graded MS67. And the PCGS values each of those at $250.
This YouTube video from Coin Collectibles features errors on a number of the Presidential dollar coins. Check out the entry at 35 seconds for another interesting example of a Buchanan dollar error coin.
What year did the James Buchanan dollar come out?
The James Buchanan dollars were issued in 2010. The first coins were released on 19 August and continued to be issued for three months.
Where is the mint mark on a James Buchanan dollar coin?
The mint mark should appear on the edge. There’ll be a “D” for coins struck in Denver, a “P” for those struck in Philadelphia, and an “S” for proof coins struck in San Francisco.