The first year of issue of the Sacagawea dollar includes three of
the most noteworthy modern U.S. coins, namely the 2000-P “Cheerios”
dollar, the 2000-D Millennium set dollar and the 2000-P Goodacre
Presentation dollar. The last of these tells a fascinating and unique
story, and 12 years later still retains a bit of controversy.
Sculptor Glenna Goodacre designed the obverse of the Sacagawea
dollar. As a non-Mint employee, she earned a $5,000 fee for her work.
She elected to receive her payment in the form of 5,000 Sacagawea
dollars. Mint Director Philip Diehl flew to Santa Fe, N.M., to hand
deliver the coins to her on April 5, 2000.
In August 2000, Goodacre contracted with Independent Coin Grading
Co. to encapsulate her coins without grade in a numbered edition. When
ICG examined the coins, they discovered that they possessed a deep
mirror-like sheen and had clearly been specially prepared. Not only
did the coins presented to Goodacre have a special provenance, but
they were visually distinct.
A Feb. 19, 2001, Associated Press article illustrates one aspect
of the controversy this generated: “As payment for her work, Glenna
Goodacre received 5,000 of the coins from the U.S. Mint last year. She
decided to sell half of them — one at a time — for $200 a piece,
ringing up $500,000.”
Perhaps to avert any criticism, the Mint denied that Goodacre’s
coins were special. The same AP article quotes U.S. Mint spokesman
Michael White: “Nothing special was done. If you bought the standard
uncirculated set, they are the same coins produced the same way.”
But, of course, there’s more. Not all 5,000 of Goodacre’s coins
possess a deeply mirrored surface.
While also specially produced and handled, a small number have a
more delicate satin finish. New research conducted by NGC has
determined that these coins are an early die state that accounts for
less than an estimated 5 percent of the total number of Goodacre
dollars. The dies were then re-
polished and employed to
produce the remaining coins.
Today grading services now recognize Goodacre Presentation coins
as “specimens,” using the SP designator prefix. Additionally, NGC
recognizes the coins as Early Die State where applicable.
The values of 2000-P Goodacre Presentation dollars do seem to
experience a bit of volatility.
The ungraded, numbered-edition coins trade at auction for about
$500. Most examples grade between Specimen 65 and Specimen 68.
Specimen 67 examples currently trade for $1,200. Attributed Early Die
State examples are worth much more — the auction record belongs to an
ICG Specimen 69 piece sold by Heritage Auctions on Nov. 9, 2011, for $6,325.
Scott schechter is a grader at NGC and co-author of 100
Greatest U.S. Modern Coins. He can be reached by email directed
to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.