US Coins

US Mint eyes gold Sacagawea dollar for 2020

The U.S. Mint is considering the issuance in 2020 of a dual-dated Native American .9999 fine gold dollar to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the Sacagawea dollar.

If approved, the coin would be issued in addition to the regular 2020 Native American dollar.

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The U.S. Mint is also pursuing product development for a Morgan and Peace silver medal for 2021 and issuance of an intaglio-engraved presidential print coupled with silver Presidential medals as a joint product between the Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The Mint contracted with Naxion, a Philadelphia-based marketing research consultant, to administer an online survey to between 4,800 and 5,000 Mint customers who have previously purchased gold and silver coin products from the Mint and would likely do so in the future.

When the Mint initially considered a gold version of the Sacagawea dollar in 1999, the coin would have been struck in Proof on a half-ounce .9167 fine gold planchet, the same used for the American Eagle gold $25 coin. The Mint never received the official authority to pursue the proposal (although it struck 39 2000-W examples).

For the 20th anniversary issue, the Mint has discussed a .9999 fine gold dollar, either a quarter-ounce piece retailing at between $420 and $480, or a half-ounce coin to retail at between $820 and $920 (based on current gold prices).

The gold coin’s obverse would be sculptor Glenna Goodacre’s Sacagawea dollar obverse design of 2000 to 2008. Goodacre’s Sacagawea obverse was retained for the obverse of the Native American dollar series beginning in 2009, with U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Thomas D. Rogers Sr.’s Soaring Eagle reverse replaced annually with designs symbolic of various Native American tribes.

For the 2020 Sacagawea gold dollar, the obverse would carry the dual dates 2000 and 2020 and Mint mark in the field in front of the portrait, with IN GOD WE TRUST retained in the left field. The inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM would appear incuse on the edge.

On the manganese-brass clad version for 2020, the singular date and respective Mint mark would appear on the edge, incuse, with E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Mint officials have not decided whether the gold 2020 Native American coin’s reverse would exhibit Rogers’ original Soaring Eagle design, or the reverse selected with the scheduled Alaska Anti-Discrimination theme, featuring a portrait of Elizabeth Peratrovich — a civil rights activist from the Tlingit nation credited with advocacy that gained the passage of the territory’s Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 — or a completely different reverse.

The gold issue would either be a “high-relief finish” or a non-high-relief Proof finish.

“High Relief” finish according to the survey, refers to “coins [that] are struck many times by dies that have been specially made. These extra strikes add more depth to the coin’s design, but they also add a deeper, brighter luster, which ensures that every millimeter of the intricate design shines through.”

For Proofs, “Proof blanks are specially treated, hand-polished, and cleaned to ensure high-quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with specially polished dies and struck at least twice.... which gives the coin a frosted, sculpted foreground for a glamorous shine; defined, intricate design; and mirror-like background.”

If the Mint green-lights the Morgan and Peace silver medal for 2021, the medal would replicate Mint Engraver George T. Morgan’s 1921 silver dollar for the final year of the series. (Mint officials have not explained the “Peace” reference, which would be assumed a reference to the Peace dollar design, introduced in late 1921.)

Such a 1-ounce .999 fine silver medal would be struck on the same planchets used to strike American Eagle silver dollar coins.

The survey questions asked participants if they preferred a maximum mintage level of 75,000 or 100,000 medals.

The silver medals would have a smooth, plain edge instead of reeded as the coin’s edge is. The medals would be dual dated 1921–2021, marking the centennial anniversary of the end of the Morgan dollar series. The medals would retail for approximately $40 to $45 each. 

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