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Sacagawea Cheerios Dollar
By SmallDollars.com

In April 2008 another astounding discovery was made in the Sacagawea Dollar series. A collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, owned not one, but two Cheerios Dollars in their original Cheerios packaging. The owner states, “I got one of the two coins out of a box of Cheerios and bought the other one at a flee market back in 2001-2002 and they have been sitting in my dresser drawer ever since until I found out what they might be worth.” Deciding to capitalize on them, he send both to NGC for authentication and grading. Upon their return he was surprised to find that one was not labeled as a “Pattern” as the other one was. Checking the reverse he found that it did in fact not exhibit the detailed tail feathers as the “pattern” piece did.

Concerned if a “non-pattern” Cheerios Dollar was possible or was previously known to exist, the collector contacted smalldollars.com. We in turn contacted accomplished numismatist Tom DeLorey, who was instrumental in the original discovery of the Cheerios “Pattern” Dollar. Being as surprised as we were, Mr. DeLorey contacted NGC to verify the piece.

In response NGC said, “The report that you received is entirely factual. NGC did receive a Cheerios dollar in original packaging and the coin was not the pattern reverse. This was confirmed by Rick Montgomery and Dave Camire. Dave Camire, in fact, opened the packaging.”

WOW!!! The Sacagawea series never ceases to amaze. Over eight years after their release, a completely new discovery is made. How could this happen? Mr. DeLorey has come up with a possible scenario. Keep in mind that this scenario is pure speculation. We’ll probably never know for sure how a “non-pattern” coin was placed in a Cheerios package.

Mr. DeLorey writes: “Possible scenario: the Mint strikes approximately 5,500 dollars from the pattern dies and send them to General Mills. They package them, and find that some coins were damaged or otherwise spoiled during packaging. Let’s guess and say they have 5,400 good ones. They’ve got enough ready to start stuffing cereal boxes, but because they are obligated to award 5,500 coins (it says so right there on 10 million pre-printed boxes) they have to ask the Mint for a hundred (or whatever) more. This second shipment is filled with coins from the new dies being used to mass produce coins for the Wal-Mart rollout. Remember, nobody outside the engraving department knows that a change was made, and the engraving department did not know that 5,500 coins had been sent out early before the change (per my conversation with Tom Rogers). The extra coins get packaged and distributed.”

Another thought. Not many of the Cheerios Dollars are in numismatist’s hands. That number is around 1% to 2% of total number placed in Cheerios boxes. It is generally accepted that a large portion of the “unfound” pieces were either ripped from their package and spent, or are lying around in a dresser drawer somewhere totally forgotten about. If any of the “non-pattern” pieces were taken from the Cheerios package and spent, they are now totally lost to the numismatic community since they are indistinguishable from a normal Sacagawea Dollar.

It should also be noted that the fact that at least thirty-eight* Cheerios Dollars were removed from the original packaging by third party grading companies and found to be the pattern reverse before a single non-pattern reverse was found confirms, at least statistically, that the great majority of the Cheerios Dollars are the pattern dollars.

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