Edge Letter on Native American Dollar
By Ken Potter
Native American dollar has been found with no
edge lettering. This is the type of error that
first showed up on Presidential dollars in early
2007 and then became progressively scarcer as
the Mint improved quality control.
Jaime Hernandez says on the Professional Coin
Grading Service Web site that the coin was first
received by PCGS on March 6. So far, it is the
only known example.
Fred Weinberg, PCGS authorized dealer and error
coin expert, submitted the coin to PCGS.
"So far, just this one Native American coin with
missing edge lettering has been found, but I
wouldn't be surprised if a few more showed up,"
Weinberg said. "The 2009 Native American coins
have not been available through banks or normal
commerce, so obtaining these coins has been
Weinberg eventually purchased the coin from the
owner and sold it for just under $10,000.
According to Hernandez, at this point the 2009
Native American Sacagawea dollars only are
available from the U.S. Mint in $25 rolls or
$250 boxes. The error was found by someone who
ordered a $250 box.
He also noted that searchers should look for
examples with weak edge lettering, saying that
authorized PCGS dealer, Mitch Spivack, submitted
one that graded PCGS MS-67.
Hernandez defines weak edge lettering as coins
that have weakness in one letter or more on the
edge lettering inscriptions. Spivack's coin
exhibited large sections of several letters
completely missing and received a weak edge
lettering designation for this.
The U.S. Mint released the new 2009 Native
American dollar Jan. 2.
The obverse features the familiar image of
Sacagawea the new annual reverse design shows a
Native American woman planting seeds in a field
of corn, beans and squash.
On the edge is the date, mintmark and the
inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Edge lettering began on the Native American
dollar this year. The prior Sacagawea dollars
had smooth edges. Edge lettering was first put
on dollar coins in 2007 when the Presidential
dollar was introduced.
These dollar coins are struck in a separate
operation on a Schuler edge letting machine.
When the operation first began in 2007, the
coins needed to be transported relatively long
distances in bins from the coining presses to
another area were the edge letting machines
processed the coins further to add the date and
The edge lettering process was integrated into
the production lines starting about 16 months
ago, said Mint spokesman Michael White in an
April 10 phone interview. The coins now move
from the coining press, down a conveyer belt to
a hopper, which feeds the coins into the edge
Up until the integration of the edge lettering
machine into the production line, hundreds of
thousands of Washington dollars, upwards of
10,000-15,000 John Adams dollars, perhaps 1,500
Jefferson dollars and lesser numbers of other
issues escaped the Mint without being processed
through the edge letting operation.
However, since the operation was tied in the
regular production line, such errors have been
reduced dramatically to a trickle of just a few
known for most dates after 2007, with many of
those found in government issued mint sets
containing coins with the special matte finish.
Collectors most often refer to this error type
as either "smooth edge" or "plain edge," while
the grading services typically refer to them as
"missing edge lettering."
When they were first found on the George
Washington dollars the general press
sensationalized them as "Godless Dollars" since
"In God We Trust" was missing from the edge
along with the rest of the inscriptions.