Sacagawea Dollar (2000 to Date)

The fate of the Sacagawea Dollar has been no better than that of its predecessor. The failure of the Anthony Dollar to circulate was attributed by the media to its similarity in size and color to the quarter dollar. This overlooked the fact that the coin was already doomed to rejection in favor of the familiar paper dollar, as no provision was made for eliminating the latter. When, twenty years later, Congress was again ready to attempt a new dollar coin, this important lesson was overlooked.

Since it was believed that Sacagawea Dollars and Anthony Dollars would circulate side by side, the new coin was required to have the same dimensions and electromagnetic signature. The manganese-brass-clad alloy employed for the Sacagawea Dollar coin provided it with a highly distinctive appearance, even after circulation turned its golden color to unpredictable shades of brown. This led to derisive comments that marred its otherwise quite attractive design. The charming portrait of Shoshone native Sacagawea and her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, was sculpted by Glenna Goodacre, while U. S. Mint Engraver Thomas D. Rogers adapted his design from the American Eagle platinum coins for the Sacagawea Dollar’s reverse.

Starting with the 2009 Sacagawea Dollar and still ongoing, the reverse has featured a different theme annually. This is known as the Native American series, and it is being coined as an adjunct to the Presidential Dollar series. The plain edge of the 2000-2008 issues was replaced with a lettered edge featuring the date, mintmark and motto E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Being such a short and modern series, one entirely free of rarities within the regular issues, Sacagawea Dollars are quite popular with date and mint collectors. Despite two very dramatic mulings of mismatched dies, no significant Sacagawea dollar die varieties have yet surfaced. Given the modern practice of sinking dies in a single blow, with all features of the die already included, it’s not likely that there will any varieties of note.

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