United States currency/100¢, 3

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Sacagawea Dollar (2000–Present)[edit | edit source]

The Sacagawea dollar, along with the Presidential Dollar series, is one of the two current United States dollar coins. This coin was first minted in 2000 and depicts the Shoshone woman Sacagawea, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, carrying her son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Artist Glenna Goodacre used a 22-year-old Shoshone woman named Randy'L He-dow Teton as the model for the young Sacagawea. The reverse side was designed by Thomas D. Rogers.

Originally, since there was no known portrait of Sacagawea, the committee that chose Sacagawea for the coin specified the figure as Liberty depicted as a Native American woman inspired by Sacagawea. This also helped sell the coin to committee members that preferred the traditional Liberty of older U.S. coins, especially since the Indian Head cent had also depicted Liberty as a Native American. However, the "Liberty" part of the concept faded during the design competition, as the most suitable designs (including Goodacre's winning design) focused on the story of Sacagawea.

Sacagawea Dollar of the United States of America[edit | edit source]

  • Value: 1 U.S. dollar

  • Mass: 8.100 g
  • Diameter: 26.5 mm
  • Thickness: 2.00 mm

  • Edge: Plain
  • Composition: 88.5% Cu, 6% Zn, 3.5% Mn, 2% Ni

  • Years of Minting: 2000–present

History[edit | edit source]

Sacagawea dollars began being minted in 2000 in accordance with the United States $1 Coin Act of 1997. These coins were made to replace the unpopular Susan B. Anthony dollar coins which were often confused with quarters because of their similar size, similar ridged edge, and identical color. To remedy this problem, Sacagawea dollars were given a smooth outside edge (similar to the Nickel) and distinctive gold color which made it the only gold-colored coin in the United States that was circulating at the time.

The dollar is nearly identical in color, size, and thickness, but not shape, to the Canadian $1 loonie coin, first minted in 1987.

Despite a major promotional blitz by the United States government, these coins failed to gain popularity with the general public, and mintages of the coins declined sharply after the first year, just as mintages of the Susan B. Anthony dollar had done 21 years earlier.

Sacagawea dollars were released for general circulation only in 2000 and 2001. On March 31, 2002 production of the coins for circulation was halted due to low demand and the fact that inventories the coins were filling up Government vaults. Since then, Sacagawea dollars are still being minted on a small scale for collectors and are available in uncirculated coin rolls, Mint Sets, Proof Sets, and Special Westward Journey Sets from the United States Mint. The coins though widely available at banks and in change from automated vending machines, rarely are given as change from merchants and thus tend to return to the banks.

Save the Greenback, an organization of Bureau of Engraving and Printing employees and paper and ink suppliers, lobbied against replacing the paper dollar with the dollar coin. Congress responded by including in the $1 Coin Act (Public Law 105-124) a provision that:

Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to evidence any intention to eliminate or to limit the printing or circulation of United States currency in the $1 denomination.

Nonetheless, nothing in that section (or in any other law) prohibits the Federal Reserve System from phasing out the paper dollar in the future.

In 2000, the General Accounting Office estimated that "the $1 coin's advantage would be $522.2 million per year, once fully implemented". The GAO noted that in order for a dollar coin to be successful, the $1 note would have to be eliminated; a reasonable transition period would be needed; the $1 coin would have to be well designed and readily distinguishable from other coins; an adequate public awareness campaign would be needed; and sustained administrative and congressional support would be necessary to withstand an initial negative public reaction to eliminating the $1 note.

James C. Benfield, executive director of the Coin Coalition, commented on the reasons for why the Sacagawea dollar never became widely circulated. He denied that it was due to the public hoarding the coins, noting that the public also collects large quantities of Statehood Quarters, yet Statehood Quarters remain in wide circulation. Benfield claimed that banks could not be faulted, since few people get coins from the bank, except for rolls of quarters to feed parking meters or coin-operated laundry machines. Moreover, he denied that it was due to public rejection of the Sacagawea, explaining, "The key players in the circulation of any denomination are the store managers of chain restaurants, drugstores, grocery stores and convenience stores. All coins, and $1 and $5 bills, begin circulating in the economy from the cash drawers of these establishments. If the store manager doesn't stock $1 coins in the morning, then you won't get them as change in the afternoon."

Benfield also pinned down the root cause of the Sacagawea's failure: "The chief stumbling-block to the success of the 'golden dollar' is the continued presence of the $1 bill. The lesson demonstrated by our SBA experience, and learned by all countries that have introduced a high-denomination coin since 1979, is that the equivalent note must be removed from circulation. The only country not to learn that lesson is the United States."

Future[edit | edit source]

Though the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 authorized a new dollar coin program featuring the Presidents of the United States, it also assured the future of the Sacagawea dollar. The act required that the number of Sacagawea dollars be at least one third of the number of the presidential dollars issued in each year of the program, and that the Sacagawea design continue after the program ends. These requirements were added at the behest of the North Dakota congressional delegation to ensure that Sacagawea, whom North Dakotans consider to be one of their own, ultimately remains on the dollar coin.

Federal Reserve officials indicated to Congress that "if the Presidential $1 Coin Program does not stimulate substantial transactional demand for dollar coins, the requirement that the Mint nonetheless produce Sacagawea dollars would result in costs to the taxpayer without any offsetting benefits." In that event, the Federal Reserve indicated that it would "strongly recommend that Congress reassess the one-third requirement."

Because of the Federal Reserve's remarks, Congress passed the Native American $1 Coin Act, on September 20, 2007, which eliminated the one-third requirement and requested a new design for the Sacagawea dollar. Beginning in 2009, the Sacagawea dollar coin will be modified to further commemorate "Native Americans and the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the development of the United States and the history of the United States." Like the Presidential Dollar, the year of issue, mint mark, and mottoes will be moved to the edge of the coin to allow more room for the design. The act further requires that 20% of the total dollar coins minted in any year during the Presidential $1 Coin Program be Sacagawea dollars bearing the new design. The new design will represent a important Native American event.

Although not widespread in the United States, the Sacagawea dollar is very popular in Ecuador and other foreign countries that have made the US dollar their currency. Since dollarization, an estimated 500 million coins, approximately half of those minted, have been used in Ecuador, El Salvador, and other Latin American countries.

Mintage Figures[edit | edit source]

  • 2000 P - 767,150,000
  • 2000 D - 518,920,000
  • 2001 P - 62,470,000
  • 2001 D - 70,940,000
  • 2002 P - 3,869,000
  • 2002 D - 3,733,000
  • 2003 P - 3,080,002
  • 2003 D - 3,080,002
  • 2004 P - 2,660,010
  • 2004 D - 2,660,010
  • 2005 P - 2,525,000
  • 2005 D - 2,525,000
  • 2006 P - 4,900,000
  • 2006 D - 2,800,000
  • 2007 P - 3,640,000
  • 2007 D - 5,740,000

Truly "Golden" Dollars[edit | edit source]

In 2001, Coin World reported the revelation (via a FOIA document request) that the Mint had struck 39 examples of the 2000 Sacagawea dollar in gold in June 1999 at the West Point Mint. The planchets came from specially prepared 12 oz. $25 American Gold Eagle Bullion Planchets. Why they were struck is not known; speculation is that this was an attempt by the mint to offer "Premium" collectibles in conjunction with the newly released Sacagawea dollar in 2000.

Twenty-seven were soon melted and the remaining 12 were on board Space Shuttle Columbia for the July 1999 STS-93 mission. Two examples then popped up at two separate events; one during a Private Congressional Dinner in August 1999, and another example at the Official First-Strike ceremonies in November. The coins remained at Mint Headquarters under lock and key until they were transferred in 2001 to Fort Knox. The strikes are considered to be illegal due to the Coinage regulations in place.

In 2007, the Mint announced it would for the first time publicly display the 12 space-flown gold dollars at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money in Milwaukee, WI.

Presidential Dollar Coin Program (2007–2016?)[edit | edit source]

The Presidential $1 Coin Program is part of an Act of Congress, Pub.L. 109-145, 119 Stat. 2664 (December 22, 2005), which directs the United States Mint to produce $1 coins with engravings of U.S. Presidents on the obverse.

Presidential One Dollar Coin of the United States of America[edit | edit source]

  • Value: 1 U.S. dollar

  • Mass: 8.100 g
  • Diameter: 26.5 mm
  • Thickness: 2.00 mm

  • Edge: Engraved (text "In God we trust" and "E pluribus unum", the coin's mint mark, and its year of issuance)
  • Composition: 88.5% Cu, 6% Zn ,3.5% Mn, 2% Ni

  • Years of Minting: 2007–present


  • Design: Portrait of a deceased president
  • Designer: Many
  • Design Date:


  • Design: Statue of Liberty
  • Designer: Don Everhart
  • Design Date: 2007

Legislative History[edit | edit source]

Senate Bill 1047 was introduced on May 17, 2005, by Senator John E. Sununu with over 70 cosponsors. It was reported favorably out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs without amendment on July 29, 2005. The Senate passed it with a technical amendment (S.AMDT.26760), by unanimous consent on November 18, 2005. The House of Representatives passed it (291-113) on December 13, 2005 (A similar bill, H.R. 902, had previously passed in the House, but it was the Senate bill which was passed by both chambers.) The engrossed bill was presented to President George W. Bush on December 15, 2005, and he signed it into law on December 22, 2005

Program Details[edit | edit source]

The program began on January 1, 2007, and is similar to the State Quarter program in that it will not end until every eligible subject is honored. The program will issue coins featuring each of four Presidents per year on the obverse, issuing one for three months before moving on to the next President in chronological order by term in office. The U.S. Mint calls it the Presidential $1 Coin Program.

The reverse of the coins bears the Statue of Liberty, the inscription "$1" and the inscription "United States of America". Inscribed along the edge of the coin is the year of minting or issuance of the coin, and also the legends E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust. The legend "Liberty" is absent from the coin altogether, since the decision was made that the image of the Statue of Liberty on the reverse of the coin was sufficient to convey the message of liberty. The text of the act does not specify the color of the coins, but per the U.S. Mint "the specifications will be identical to those used for the current Golden dollar". The President Washington $1 Coin was first available to the public on February 15, 2007, in honor of Presidents' Day, which was observed on February 19.

This marks the first time since the St. Gaudens Double Eagle that the United States has issued a coin with edge lettering for circulation. Edge lettered coins date back to the 1790s. The process was started to discourage the shaving of gold coin edges, a practice which was used to cheat payees.

The act had been introduced because of the failure of the Sacagawea $1 coin to gain wide-spread circulation in the United States. The act sympathized with the need of the nation's private sector for a $1 coin and expected that the appeal of changing the design would increase the public demand for new coins (as the public generally responded well to the State Quarter program). The program will also educate the public about the history of the nation's Presidents. Should the coin not catch on with the general public, the Mint is hoping that collectors will be as interested in the dollars as they were with the State Quarters, which generated about $4.6 billion in seigniorage between January 1999 and April 2005, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Unlike the State Quarter program and the Westward Journey nickel series, which suspended the issuance of the current design during those programs, the act directed the Mint to continue to issue Sacagawea dollar coins during the Presidential series. At least one fourth of the dollar coins issued in each year of the program must be Sacagawea dollars. (The law says "one third", but that is of the total Presidential-series coins issued each year; that translates to one fourth of total production.) Furthermore, the Sacagawea design is required to continue after the Presidential program ends. These requirements were added at the behest of the North Dakota congressional delegation to ensure that Sacagawea, whom North Dakotans consider to be one of their own, ultimately remains on the dollar coin.

However, Federal Reserve officials indicated to Congress that "if the Presidential $1 Coin Program does not stimulate substantial transactional demand for dollar coins, the requirement that the Mint nonetheless produce Sacagawea dollars would result in costs to the taxpayer without any offsetting benefits." In that event, the Federal Reserve indicated that it would "strongly recommend that Congress reassess the one-third requirement." The one-third requirement was later eliminated by the Native American $1 Coin Act, passed on September 20, 2007, and Sacagawea dollars were only 0.8% of the total dollar coins produced through November 2007.

Previous versions of the act called for removing from circulation dollar coins issued prior to the Sacagawea dollar, most notably the Susan B. Anthony dollar, but the version of the act which became law merely directs the Secretary of the Treasury to study the matter and report back to Congress. However, the act does require Federal government agencies (including the United States Postal Service), businesses operating on Federal property, and Federally-funded transit systems to accept and dispense dollar coins by January 2008, and to post signs indicating that they do so.

The Program's End[edit | edit source]

Even though it would take about 11 years to honor all the Presidents (George W. Bush is the 43rd President and the act allows for a coin for each of Grover Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms), the series may not run that long. The act specifies that in order for a President to be honored, the former President must have been dead for at least two years prior to issue; the series will end when all the then-eligible Presidents have been honored. If a President does not meet the requirements at the time he would be honored with a coin, then he would be skipped. The next President who served after him meeting the requirements will then be honored. Once the program has terminated, continuation of the series for non-honored Presidents will require another Act of Congress.

If Jimmy Carter lives until 2014, he will be skipped and Ronald Reagan will be the next honored. If all currently living Presidents survive to within two years of Reagan's coin, then his coin will end the program.

Minting Errors[edit | edit source]

On March 8, 2007, the United States Mint announced that, on February 15, 2007, an unknown number of George Washington Presidential $1 Coins were released into circulation without their edge inscriptions (the U.S. mottoes, "In God we trust" and "E pluribus unum", the coin's mint mark, and its year of issuance; i.e. E PLURIBUS UNUM • IN GOD WE TRUST • 2007 X (where X is either P or D). Ron Guth, of the Professional Coin Grading Service, estimates that at least 50,000 coins were released without the edge inscriptions. The first such coin discovered was sold on eBay for $600, while later coins were selling $40-$60, as of late March 8, 2007. Because one of the inscriptions missing from the coins is the motto "In God we trust", some articles on the subject have referred to them as "Godless dollars." Counterfeit "Godless dollars" have been produced with the edge lettering filed off. These specimens are worth face value.

Also, John Adams Presidential Dollars have been discovered with plain edges. They are lesser in quantity than George Washington plain edge dollars, making them rarer, thus more expensive. Other errors on Adams dollars include doubled edge lettering and moderate die cracks.

In early March, a Colorado couple found a George Washington dollar coin missing stamping on both sides of the coin.

Some of the coins have the words on the rim struck upside down (president face up). These are not minting errors, but rather a variation created by the minting process. Such "upside-down" coins have been sold on auction websites for greater than their face value, even though they represent roughly 50% of the minted population.

Coin Details[edit | edit source]

Dollar coins will be issued bearing the likenesses of Presidents, as follows:

Release # President # President Release date Mintage figures Design In office
1 1st George Washington February 15, 2007 340,360,000[1] Washington dollar 1789 – 1797
2 2nd John Adams May 17, 2007 224,560,000[2] John Adams dollar 1797 – 1801
3 3rd Thomas Jefferson August 16, 2007 203,610,000[3] Jefferson dollar 1801 – 1809
4 4th James Madison November 15, 2007 172,340,000[4] Madison dollar 1809 – 1817
5 5th James Monroe February 14, 2008 N/A Monroe dollar 1817 – 1825
6 6th John Quincy Adams May 15, 2008 N/A John Quincy Adams dollar 1825 – 1829
7 7th Andrew Jackson August 14, 2008 N/A Jackson dollar 1829 – 1837
8 8th Martin Van Buren November 13, 2008 N/A Van Buren dollar 1837 – 1841

First Spouse Program[edit | edit source]

The United States is honoring the spouses of each of the Presidents honored by the Presidential $1 Coin Act by issuing half-ounce $10 gold coins featuring their images, in the order that they served as First Spouse, beginning in 2007. To date, all first spouses have been women (often called First Ladies), but the law uses the term "First Spouse" because that could change before the end of the program.

The obverse of these coins will feature portraits of the Nation’s First Spouses, their names, the dates and order of their terms as first spouse, as well as the year of minting or issuance, and the words "In God We Trust" and "Liberty." The United States Mint will mint and issue First Spouse Gold Coins on the same schedule as the Presidential $1 Coins issued honoring the Presidents. Each coin will have a unique reverse design featuring an image emblematic of that spouse’s life and work, as well as the words "The United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum," "$10," "1/2 oz.," and ".9999 Fine Gold."

When a President served without a First Spouse, as Thomas Jefferson did, a gold coin will be issued bearing an obverse image emblematic of Liberty as depicted on a circulating coin of that era, and bearing a reverse image emblematic of themes of that President.

The act, as written, explicitly states that the first spouse coins will be released at the same time as their respective $1 President coins. This means that it is entirely possible for a living first spouse to still be honored with a coin.

The United States Mint launched the first spouse coins officially at 12pm EDT on June 19, 2007. They provided two versions of the coin: a proof version for $429.95 and an uncirculated version for $410.95.

The United States Mint will also produce and make available to the public bronze medal duplicates of the First Spouse Gold Coins which are not legal tender. A full listing of the coins is as follows:

Release # Spouse # Name Release date Mintage figures Front/Obverse Design Reverse Design Dates Served
1 1 Martha Washington June 19, 2007 N/A Martha Washington First Spouse Coin obverse.jpg Martha Washington First Spouse Coin reverse.jpg 1789 - 1797
2 2 Abigail Adams June 19, 2007 N/A Abigail Adams First Spouse Coin obverse.jpg Abigail Adams First Spouse Coin reverse.jpg 1797 - 1801
3 3 Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty August 30, 2007 N/A Jefferson Liberty First Spouse Coin obverse.jpg Jefferson Liberty First Spouse Coin reverse.jpg 1801 - 1809
4 4 Dolley Madison November 18 ,2007 N/A Dolley Madison First Spouse Coin obverse.jpg Dolley Madison First Spouse Coin reverse.jpg 1809 - 1817

Other Provisions[edit | edit source]

The act also has two other provisions, for:

  • Issuance of a $50 bullion coin reproducing the 1913 Buffalo nickel designed by James Earle Fraser. See American Buffalo (coin)
  • Redesign of the reverse of the Lincoln cent in 2009 to show four different scenes from Abraham Lincoln's life in honor of the bicentennial of his birth. These four scenes include:
  1. His birth and early childhood in Kentucky;
  2. His formative years in Indiana;
  3. His professional life in Illinois; and
  4. His presidency in Washington, D.C.

In 2009, numismatic cents which have the metallic copper content of cents minted in 1909 will be issued for collectors.

After 2009, yet another redesigned reverse for the Lincoln cent is supposed to be minted; this "shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country," and so may replace the Lincoln Memorial reverse in use since 1959. However, it could be argued that the Lincoln Memorial itself meets the requirements of the Act through its design elements (mainly the 36 columns representing the states at his death and the names of all 48 states when it was constructed, and currently, all 50 states), so it is theoretically possible that the Lincoln Memorial reverse could return.

-km 12:14, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

More from km[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Production Figures - The United States Mint
  2. Production Figures - The United States Mint
  3. Production Figures - The United States Mint
  4. Production Figures - The United States Mint