Reaction to the Millard Fillmore dollar

Millard Fillmore’s dollar got a bit of coverage — well, more than the dollar for Zachary Taylor, so far as I can tell.  It was not a big story.

The Wall Street Journal carried a page 1 feature. Some of the most fun coverage came out of local newspapers in Buffalo and Moravia, New York.

From the Berkshire-Hathaway-owned Buffalo News:

MORAVIA — When the U.S. Mint wanted to unveil a new $1 Millard Fillmore coin, it went to the 13th president’s birthplace to do the honors.

That’s this town of 4,000 in the Finger Lakes, where about a quarter of the population turned out Thursday to pay tribute to their favorite son.

But what about Buffalo, where he served as the University of Buffalo’s first chancellor and helped found a historical society and a hospital?

No problem. The same U.S. Mint official came to Buffalo to hold a second unveiling in Fillmore’s adopted hometown, where about three dozen people showed up at City Hall.

And in the Auburn, New York, Citizen, a story of a crowd much larger than anticipated:

MORAVIA – With close to 1,000 witnesses watching, a young Millard Fillmore impersonator and his equally sprite make-believe wife Abigail poured from a wooden bucket a stream of coins bearing the face of the 13th president and Moravia native.

The United States Mint Thursday released its 13th presidential dollar coin, honoring Millard Fillmore, at a ceremony in the Moravia Junior Senior School cafeteria, which was not large enough to accommodate the crowd of community members who had come to celebrate a president whose national legacy is not legendary, but whose roots are their roots.

“This is a grand, grand event,” Moravia Mayor Gary Mulvaney said, as he waited in a line that started at the cafeteria doors and wound through the school.

James P. McCoy’s photos of the unveiling and the large mockup of the dollar itself are good (you could steal them for a PowerPoint in your classroom), but I especially enjoyed the pictures in the Auburn paper, by Sam Tenney.  Two middle school students played Abigail and Millard Fillmore at the ceremony in Moravia.

Eleanor Younger, 10, and Colton Langtry, 12, portraying Abigail Powers Fillmore and Millard Fillmore, help Andy Brunhart, deputy director of the United States Mint, pour a bucket of $1 coins - Sam Tenney photo, Auburn, NY Citizen

Caption from the Auburn, New York, Citizen: "Eleanor Younger, 10, and Colton Langtry, 12, portraying Abigail Powers Fillmore and Millard Fillmore, help Andy Brunhart, deputy director of the United States Mint, pour a bucket of $1 coins bearing Fillmore's likeness during a ceremony celebrating the release of the coin Thursday morning at Moravia High School. The Fillmore coin is the 13th in a series honoring past presidents." Photo by Sam Tenney, Auburn, NY, Citizen

Uncharacteristically, the U.S. Mint offered some of the $1.00 coins to students for free — perhaps the only recorded time that the Mint has handed out money for free.

Looks like they had a good time.


3 Responses to Reaction to the Millard Fillmore dollar

  1. Doug Smith says:

    Yes, the historian who spoke in Moravia mentioned his refusal of the Latin-written diploma… At the Fillmore gravesite ceremony two years ago, the speaker, a physician, made the point that had Fillmore not moved to pacify the South and at least delay a Civil War, the casualties would have been far more horrific than even they were, given the advances that were made in anaethetic medicine in the ensuing 11 years


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    One story is that Queen Victoria, upon meeting the ex-President Fillmore, pronounced him the “handomest man” she’d ever met.

    On that same trip to Europe, he declined an honorary degree from Oxford. The degree was in Latin, a language Fillmore couldn’t read. He said no one should get a degree they can’t read.

    Fillmore was a truly remarkable man.


  3. Doug Smith says:

    You simply had to be there in Moravia, they did Millard better than they do Halloween, which is excellent… historian spoke so long, tracing Fillmore’s geneology practically to his parents’ conception, that had Fillmore lived to a riper age, most reporters would have missed their deadline..Withal, it was interesting to hear what a strong, handsome man he was, a detail deleted by his detractors…


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