The US Mint announced the availability of Sacagawea Dollars this week. Under the provisions of the Presidential $1 Coin Act (GPO: [text]/[pdf]), the Mint has to produce one Sacagawea Dollar for every three Presidential Dollars struck. Since the Mint is scheduled to produce 300 million George Washington Dollars, they are required to strike 100 million Sacagawea Dollars to be in compliance with the law. According to the Mint, the 2007 Sacagawea Dollars will benefit from the improved processes developed for the Presidential Dollar Program including shinier surfaces and a treatment to prevent the unusual toning of the past.
Although the Glenna Goodacre design is one of the Mint’s best in recent memories, the coin has not gained popularity with the public. As long as the Bureau of Engraving and Printing continues to print one-dollar Federal Reserve Notes, one-dollar coinage will not be popular. The only significant circulation of these coins was in the year 2000, its first year of issue. That year, the Mint struck 1.2 billion coins which are reportedly still being warehoused by the Mint and the various Federal Reserve banks.
The proliferation of edge lettering errors has prompted a lot of discussion in the numismatic industry. Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) has joined the fray and announced rewards for finding specific types of errors caused by the edge lettering. Recently, PCGS awarded $2,500 to a Colorado collector who found a Presidential Dollar blank planchet with edge lettering.
Since the Sacagawea Dollar is struck on the same planchets, presses, and post finishing process as the Presidential Dollar without the edge lettering, there is speculation that some may appear with edge lettering. While some insist this type of error is highly unlikely because the edge lettering is a separate process, PCGS is offering a $10,000 reward for being able to certify a genuine Sacagawea Dollar with edge lettering of a Presidential Dollar.
If you find a Sacagawea Dollar with edge lettering, contact me through this blog. I would love to be first to report the find and post pictures.