Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Original Sacagawea Dollar Coin Ranks at the Top

Sacagawea Dollar Coin
Recently, I received my 2011 Silver Proof Set in the mail from the U.S. Mint and while looking over all the coins, I realized how much I liked the Sacagawea dollar above all the others.

Maybe the reason I prefer the Sacagawea dollar coin to all the other circulating coins is that it's the only coin I can think of with a baby on the obverse. How can you not like a baby?

I definitely think part of it is the fact that it doesn't portray a former President (I've always wished we'd go back to displaying Miss Liberty). Whatever it is, I definitely prefer the Sacagawea design to all the new Presidential dollars.

2000-2008 Reverse
Then I flipped the set over to look at the reverses. When I first saw the new 2011 Peace Pipe reverse, I realizee how much I preferred the original design showing an eagle in flight.

Although I'm sure many of you will disagree, I personally think the original Sacagawea dollar coin has the best design of any modern U.S. coin minted since the mid-20th century.

So what's the future for Sacagawea dollars?

With all the attention lately devoted to Presidential dollars, it seems the Sacagawea dollar coin has been relegated to nothing more than an after-thought. Not that it was ever very successful to begin with having to compete with the dollar bill. But it does seem to have a future beyond Presidential dollars.

2009 Reverse
When the Presidential dollar legislation was passed in 2005, a provision was put in that the Sacagawea dollar not only had to continue to be minted, but it also would get a new reverse design ever year until the Presidential dollar program ended. However, once the Presidential dollar program has ended, the Sacagawea dollar is slated to continue on into the future.

Originally one-third of all dollar coins produced each year were supposed to be Sacagawea coins. However, new legislation in 2007 lowered that requirement to one-fifth. With less demand for the coins than even the Presidential dollars, these coins must be piling up considerably in government storage even with the smaller mintage totals.

2010 Reverse
Fortunately, for those like me who like the Sacagawea dollar, there is a program by the U.S. Mint that is designed "to make $1 coins readily available to the public, at no additional cost, so they can be easily introduced into circulation."

Through the U.S. Mint's Direct Shipment Program, you can order rolls of Sacagawea dollars (or select Presidential dollars) at face value with free shipping. Not only are the 2009 and 2010 reverse designs available, but they've recently pulled many 2001 rolls with the original flying eagle reverse design out of storage.

2011 Reverse
So if you like the Sacagawea dollar coin like I do, order some rolls from the U.S. Mint and help start getting them into circulation. I believe it's only a matter of time before the dollar bill gets discontinued so we might as well get used to a dollar coin in our pockets now.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar Coins Now Available from U.S. Mint's Direct Ship Program

Tomorrow it will be 2 years since I first posted an article about my initial experience with the U.S. Mint's Direct Ship Program for Sacagawea and Presidential dollars. I have written on occasion over those 2 years about my experience with the program, both positive and negative.

Today is one of those positive days.

Recently the U.S. Mint made the 2010 Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln Presidential dollars available via their Direct Ship Program. In the past, it has usually been only the earliest coins that have been available (i.e. Washington, Adams, etc.).  Since many banks have ceased to order the newer dollars, I think it is a smart move for the Mint to include the newer coins as part of the program.

I believe many of the customers buying the coins through the Direct Ship Program are probably collectors. Most of them are probably not going to keep buying the Washington dollars over and over again just to help circulate them. However, as each new President comes out, they may buy of box of them, keeping a roll or two for their collections, and spending the rest.

I personally bought a box each of Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan dollars yesterday since I could not find a single bank near me that had them. One bank said they stopped ordering dollar coins over a year ago and didn't plan to order any more in the future.

In addition to the recent Presidential dollars being included in the Direct Ship Program, the 2001 Sacagawea dollars have also been added to the program. I bought a box of them about a month ago and have actually had fun spending them. I'm finding that most store clerks by now have seen a Presidential dollar, but Sacagawea dollars are completely foreign to them. Most tend to comment on how beautiful the coin is.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Direct Ship Program, it is a program introduced by the U.S. Mint whose purpose "is to make $1 coins readily available to the public, at no additional cost, so they can be easily introduced into circulation." Customers can order the coins at face value with free shipping as long as they agree to spend and not deposit them directly into a bank. The purpose is to help get the coins into circulation.

When I wrote the first article two years ago, I had such a hard time spending the new coins that I almost gave up. Today clerks are more familiar with them and therefore more accepting of them. The proliferation of self-checkouts at grocery and other stores has helped as the newer machines take the dollar coins much faster than a dollar bill. I've seen many older vending machines that didn't accept the coins be replaced by new machines that do.

Although dollar coins will probably not circulate widely as long as the dollar bill is still around, I don't doubt that the dollar bill will one day be phased out. So you might as well go to the U.S. Mint website and order a box of dollar coins and start getting used to spending them.