I spent some time yesterday during a rainy morning rolling up all the loose change we've been emptying into a container. Part of the change happened to be several dollar coins which got me to wondering just how often these things are used. We sure don't use them. Someone wrote me after I tweeted this question and said that Metro Link uses them and these dollar coins are given as change.
I looked up the dollar coin history which was enacted by the US Mint in order to hopefully phase out the paper dollars since those wear out fairly quickly and have to be replaced. But why haven't they been commonly used? I learned several things.
The first dollar coins were big and fairly heavy, think silver dollars. In 1979 the government produced a lighter, smaller dollar coin, the Susan B. Anthony. However, these were almost identical in size to the quarter coin, with ridges around the circumference and the same metal makeup. They were mistaken for quarters. It got so ridiculous these were nicknamed the Carter Quarter.
In 2000 the Mint issued the gold dollar coin, gold being the look of it, not the substance. It had the face of the Shoshone Native American Sacagawea. It also had a smooth edge around it so that it could be easily distinguished from the quarter. Interestingly we have several of these and one appears to be worth quite a bit more than one dollar.
If the Sacagawea coin is marked 2000 with a P under the 2000, it is being offered on some coin sites for over 500 dollars. We have two of these. But we aren't coin collectors and most likely this amount is not true, kind of like the constant fake stories of how much certain Beany Babies are worth.
However, I may continue to look into this. I do wonder, though, how many store clerks would recognize that these are worth a dollar if you handed one over to buy a coke or some such.