By Steve Roach
When a new subtype
or variety is discovered, there is initial
excitement, then over the next several years,
the market adjusts as the coin does (or doesn’t)
enter "mainstream" collecting.
A year ago, an example of the "Cheerios" 2000-P
Sacagawea dollar sold at auction for nearly
$35,000! However, the initial excitement that
accompanied its discovery has waned, and savvy
collectors can now acquire an example for a
fraction of its price at its market apex.
As part of the U.S. Mint’s marketing aimed at
promoting the new dollar, it produced 5,500
dollars to distribute in General Mills Cheerios
cereal boxes in 2000. The coins are notable for
being struck using a prototype reverse die with
enhanced definition to the eagle’s tail
feathers, wing feathers and neck feathers. This
design was modified prior to the production of
regular-issue dollars, making the "Cheerios
dollars" rare and highly collectible.
The subtype was discovered in 2005 and by that
time, many of the examples had already been
Perhaps part of the reason it took the
collecting community so long to identify the
differences is that, for placement in the
Cheerios boxes, the coins were put in a holder
that prevented the reverse from being examined –
to remove the dollar from its holder would
destroy its value. As a Cheerios dollar, it sold
for up to $200 on eBay prior to its discovery as
a distinct subtype.
Since its discovery, it has appeared at auction
sporadically, and its price has fluctuated
So far in 2009, seven have sold at auction. In
May, a Mint State 66 example realized $5,175 and
an MS-68 piece brought $7,762 at auction. Just
several weeks later, an MS-66 example realized
$3,565 at auction. A year earlier, in July 2008,
an MS-68 coin realized $35,000 and in May 2008
another MS-68 example brought $29,990.
In April the "discovery coin" was sold with a
small archive related to its discovery for
At the moment these are very scarce.
Professional Coin Grading Service has certified
only 33 in all grades. But, as more examples of
this subtype are discovered, the certified
population is bound to rise. This could either
increase prices by bringing greater visibility
to the variety, or depress prices by increasing
supply beyond the demand.