The Sacagawea dollar coin was officially released for circulation on January 27, 2000. To understand the coin’s genesis and why some are becoming so valuable, let’s go back a few years to its creation.
The Demise of Dollar Coins
There have been several attempts to put a dollar U.S. coin into circulation over the last 50 years, none of which were very successful.
The 1971–1978 Eisenhower dollars were unusually large by coin standards at 1.5 inches in diameter and didn’t gain much popularity with the public other than as casino tokens. The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin debuted in 1979 but was discontinued by 1981.
The Dollar Coin Comeback
In 1997, members of Congress passed the United States Dollar Coin Act, a bill calling for the return of the dollar coin.
In December, President Bill Clinton signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act, which included a section titled the United States $1 Coin Act of 1997.
It outlined the specifications of a new dollar coin, saying, “The dollar coin shall be golden in color, have a distinctive edge, have tactile and visual features that make the denomination of the coin readily discernible.”
The act also specified the Susan B. Anthony dollar would resume production at the U.S. Mint until the new dollar with its distinctive golden color could be released.
The Dollar Coin Contest
In June of 1998, the public was given a chance to propose ideas for the coin.
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin gathered a dollar coin design advisory committee requiring the first coin feature representations of no living person and at least one woman.
The committee in charge chose the suggested design concept of Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean.
Despite a poll by the general public that overwhelmingly declared a preference for the Statue of Liberty, Sacagawea won.
The Sacagawea Coin Design
The rules stated that the front of the coin had to depict Sacagawea and the back had to show an eagle as a symbol of freedom and peace.
The United States Commission of Fine Arts chose sculptor Glenna Goodacre as the winner for the final designs on the obverse side of the coin.
Her composition featured Sacagawea with her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. The infant’s father was Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian guide and interpreter on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Randy’L He-dow Teton
As a model for the coin, Goodacre used a present-day Shoshone college student, Randy’L He-dow Teton.
US Mint sculptor-engraver Thomas D. Rogers won with his reverse side design of a soaring eagle.
From 2000 to 2008, these designs appeared on the coin, but that changed in 2009.
The Native American One Dollar Coin Act
In 2007, President George W. Bush signed the Native American $1 Coin Act, which required “images celebrating 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.”
As a result, new designs honoring Native American tribes appeared on the reverse side of the coins every year.
At the end of 2009, the coins had become unpopular and were only being made for collectors.
As such, the Federal Reserve Bank stopped ordering them, and the uncirculated coins sat in vaults at the treasury department and the United States mint.
The Sacagawea Dollar coin weighs 8.1 grams, is .079 inches thick, and measures 1.043 inches in diameter.
It’s comprised of a copper core, which is 88.5% of the metal used, as well as 6% zinc, 3.5% manganese, and 2% nickel, which make up the outer layer of manganese brass.
Most Sacagawea coins are only worth face value when circulated. This is true of all 2000 P and D mint coins and all coins minted in 2001 and later, regardless of mintmark.
Uncirculated values rise a bit, with all 2009 and later coins worth somewhere between $1.50 and $2. Coins from 2001 and 2002, regardless of mint, are worth anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50, as are 2007 and 2008 coins.
The 2003 P coins can fetch between $3 and $4. All 2005 coins and 2006 P coins can net up to $3.50.
The 2003 D and all 2004 coins are anywhere from $3.50 to $5.00. The 2006 D versions are rarer and worth between $5 and $7.
The Valuable Sacagawea Variants
Now we get to Sacagawea dollar coins worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Let’s dive in.
While the regular Sacagawea dollars are still valued at only one dollar, keep your eyes peeled for these rare variations. You never know when a treasure will roll your direction.
2000 P “Wounded Eagle” Sacagawea Coin
The name “wounded eagle” comes from three raised die flaws on the Eagle on the reverse side of the coin.
No one has reached a consensus on why the coin has these marks, but only about 200 are known. The marks are quite small, with two on the upper wing and one on the chest.
You’ll need a microscope or high-powered magnifying glass to spot the flaws.
In circulated condition, the “wounded eagle” coin is worth around $250. In uncirculated condition, they can be worth nearly $500.
2000 P “Presentation” Sacagawea Coin
There were 5,000 of these “presentation” coins minted. Why 5,000? These specific coins were the payment to Glenna Goodacre for her design on the obverse of the dollar.
They have a different appearance from circulated coins because they were struck on burnished planchets, giving them a rougher texture. Glenna sold 3,000 of her coins, receiving $200 a piece for them.
So far, none have turned up in circulation, and if they did, their value would be close to the uncirculated value — upwards of $350 for an uncirculated coin and around $300 for one in circulation.
2007-D Sacagawea Dollar Coin
There’s only one confirmed example of a Sacagawea dollar featuring Presidential dollar edge lettering rather than the typical plain edge. A coin collector from Colorado, Andrew Moores, discovered the coin in pocket change.
The error coin has been graded in Mint State 62 condition by Professional Coin Grading Service. About a decade ago, the ultra-rare coin was sold at a Great Collections auction for over $17,000.
2000 P “Cheerios” Sacagawea Dollar Coin
Values jump considerably with the Cheerios coin. Let’s give some background. To promote the coin’s release, General Mills decided to give away 2,000 of the coins.
The way they did this was to include them in 2,000 boxes of Cheerios as a prize, with the other 10,000,000 boxes each containing a 2000 Lincoln penny.
Interestingly, these dollars were minted in 1999, and the stamping for the reverse side was a prototype die.
The Eagle had more texture to its tail feathers, among other slight differences. So how much are these Cheerios dollars worth?
A circulated example of the coin could have a value of up to $1,500. An uncirculated example could be worth over $3,000. If you have a circa 2000 box of Cheerios still in the pantry, you may want to open it now.
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