Sacagawea coins will see the light of day in 2008. It is all in thanks to new legislation that was introduced Monday, passed in the House and Senate on Thursday and signed into law by President Bush on Friday. The law amends old and gives the United States Mint the authority to mint and issue 2008 Sacagawea Golden Dollars.
The reason the Mint stopped in issuing them is a story with several twists and turns …
Presidential $1 Coins take hold in 2007, shadowing Sacagawea coins
Sacagawea coins took a back seat to the new Presidential $1 Coins in 2007. With an already vaulted inventory of older Sacagawea coins and the over 943 million new Presidential coins produced in 2007, there was little need to mint Sacagawea golden dollars and release them to the public. Instead, 2007 Sacagawea’s were essentially left in the dark and only purchased by coin collectors.
While there has never been a huge demand for the golden coins outside of collectors, their treatment as "second class" to the new Presidential $1 Coins was noted by politicians. Late in 2007, legislation titled the Native American $1 Coin Act was passed and signed into law (Public Law 110-82).
Passage of ‘Native American $1 Coin Act’ creates new Sacagawea coin designs but also results in confusion
The result of that law will be the issuance of new Sacagawea reverse coin redesigns in 2009 and a mandate stating “not less than 20% of the total number of $1 coins minted and issued in each year”. In essence, the Sacagawea Dollars are set to the same mintage pace as each new presidential $1 coin starting in 2009. They will be treated as “equal” to the Presidential Dollars.
The law introduced a bit of confusion, however. It was unclear whether Sacagawea coins could be minted and sold at all in 2008 – even to coin collectors.
Mint announces the sale of 2008 Sacagawea coins, but then pulls them
For a time, even the United States Mint was confused. In an informational product update to the public, they had announced the sale of 2008 Sacagawea Dollars in 250-Coin Bags and 25-Coin Rolls. Many collectors wanted to buy the 2008 coins, knowing the Sacagawea reverse design would change in 2009.
The announcement for their sale was was right before the Mint experienced turmoil and their online ordering system was taken down.
Within that mist of confusion, the 2008 Sacagawea products were silently removed within a day or two. Collectors who tried to place orders through the Mint’s phone lines were told that the coins were "not available".
Apparently, it was during this time, after the initial announcement the coins would be for sale and in the days of the Mint’s online order meltdown, when the legality of actually selling Sacagawea’s came into question.
And from here, it is now all history and down to the base facts of the new law …
Mint seeks legislative help in resolving problem – H.R. 5478 passed in Senate and House, signed by President
The U.S. Mint needed to seek clarification and have the Native American $1 Coin Act (Public Law 110-82) amended in order to mint and sale Sacagawea Golden Dollars in 2008. That task has been accomplished.
Rep Luis Gutierrez (D – IL) introduced the House bill on Monday, Feb. 25, 2008. In short, the law "provide for the continued minting and issuance of certain $1 coins in 2008." It does that by amending the Native American $1 Coin Act (Public Law 110-82), which first introduced unintentional questions as to the legality of minting and issuing Sacagawea coins until 2009.
In a flurry of fast action, the bill took the following steps:
- Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.
- 2/25/2008 4:45pm:
- Ms. Moore (WI) moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill.
- 2/25/2008 4:46pm:
- Considered under suspension of the rules.
- 2/25/2008 4:49pm:
- On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.
- 2/25/2008 4:49pm:
- Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
- Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
- Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged by Unanimous Consent.
- Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.
- Message on Senate action sent to the House.
- Presented to President.
- President Signed into law.
The text of H.R. 5478: To provide for the continued minting and issuance of certain $1 coins in 2008
One Hundred Tenth Congress
United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday, the third day of January, two thousand and eight
To provide for the continued minting and issuance of certain $1 coins in 2008.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That clause (i) of section 5112(n)(1)(B) of title 31, United States Code (as in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of Public Law 110-82) shall continue in effect, notwithstanding the amendment made by section 3 of Public Law 110-82, until the effective date of the amendment made by section 2 of such Public Law.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.