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Numbers add up for change

Some things just don’t add up. The Presidential Coin Act that authorized the current series of Presidential dollars also requires that the U.S. Mint issue Sacagawea dollars in a number to equal one-third of the total of all dollars struck this year and in future years.

When I saw that number for the first time, I asked the Mint about how that might be done.
I could understand collectors continuing to buy Sacagawea dollars even as the Presidential series unfolded. I could understand they would want five-coin proof dollar sets and five dollar coins in the regular proof set, but the math didn’t add up.

If collectors take one of everything, the percentage attained would be 20 percent. That is a long way from 33.33 percent. So far, I haven’t seen anything from the Mint that would help spur Sacagawea dollar demand to a level to comply with the law.

Perhaps the solons in Congress noticed this, or perhaps a Mint official put a bug in a congressional ear, but legislation in the form of H.R. 2358 has been introduced to correct that mathematical dilemma. But correction is not the sole purpose of the legislation.

The legislation also authorizes and annual reverse design on the Sacagawea dollar to honor Native Americans. This then would make the coin a commemorative, too. The congressional sponsors, I imagine, also believe, that the new themes will spur additional demand.

They saw the popularity of the Buffalo commemorative silver dollar of 2001 that first reused the Buffalo nickel design and then the launch last year of the same design on a one-ounce gold coin.
Collectors say they like the James Earle Fraser design of Buffalo and Native American whenever they are asked. Perhaps the potentially new Sac dollars will broaden the Native American thematic appeal.

The legislation has to pass before that can happen. Something tells me that it will have little problem getting support. The numbers for that seem to me to add up.