New Coin Out This Week Will Honor Jefferson

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of the Mint hopes the new dollar coins being released over the next few years will not only help wean people off the dollar bill, but also educate them about U.S. history.

The Jefferson dollar gets a preview today at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, before Thursday's general release.

A Gallup poll last month found that nearly everybody knew that Washington was the first president, but fewer than a-third could name Thomas Jefferson as the third president. And beyond that, knowledge of the presidents was even shakier.

The new presidential dollar series began last winter with a Washington coin, followed by John Adams in May.

Even though other dollar coins have fizzled, the Mint hopes the presidential series will catch on, particularly for the vending machine industry. It loses an estimated one billion dollars a year to paper jams.