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Sacagawea "Cheerios" Pattern Rarer Than We Thought?

By May 30, 2008

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Sacagawea Cheerios Pattern is on top, normal reverse belowPCGS had an interesting article in their eCollector newsletter yesterday regarding the submission of a Cheerios Dollar that turned out to be struck from normal dies, rather than struck from the pattern dies that experts once thought all of the Cheerios Dollars were struck from. The Cheerios Dollar, for those unfamiliar with the type, are Sacagawea Dollars that were placed into Cheerios boxes as part of a year 2000 new millennium promotion by General Mills. Out of 10 million boxes of Cheerios which were sent to stores as part of the promotion, only 5,500 had the new Sacagawea Dollar in them, along with a year 2000 Lincoln Cent. The rest of the boxes only had the Cent. It wasn't until 2005 that variety coin expert Tom DeLorey confirmed that the Cheerios Dollars were struck by a slightly different Sacagawea Dollar reverse die, although he had suspected the possibility since 2000. (for the entire fascinating story, check out the article about the Sacagawea Dollar pattern discovery on SmallDollars.com.) The important detail here is that the Cheerios Dollars have enhanced eagle tailfeathers, whereas the normal circulation coins have plain tailfeathers.

Cheerios Dollar Background

According to DeLorey, who filled me in on some of the background surrounding the Cheerios Dollars, the first time a non-enhanced tailfeathers Cheerios Dollar apparently came to light was back in 2005, shortly after the discovery of the pattern reverse. The coin had been certified by PCI, a grading service that didn't have much credibility at the time, so nobody took the claim seriously. Then, in April of 2008, NGC certified a Cheerios Dollar as having the non-pattern reverse type. As DeLorey tells it, David Camire, (the lead grader and variety coin expert at NGC,) personally examined and opened the Cheerios packaging of the coin in question, which was submitted along with another packaged Cheerios Dollar that did have the enhanced tailfeathers pattern reverse. Camire certifies that both packages appeared to be untampered-with, genuine unopened Cheerios packaging. NCG certified the enhanced reverse coin as a Sacagawea Pattern without mentioning Cheerios on the slab insert, and then certified the non-enhanced coin as a "Cheerios Dollar." Naturally, this nomenclature is certain to cause confusion in the marketplace, since NGC had previously put the word "Cheerios" on most of the slabs of the previous enhanced-reverse Sacagaweas that they certified.

PCGS Discovers Non-Enhanced Cheerios Dollar

Now, PCGS has joined the party with their article informing us that they, too, have very recently certified a non-enhanced Cheerios Dollar! Their article takes care to note that they found the packaging to be authentic and not tampered with, but that the Sacagawea Dollar in the package did not have the pattern reverse type. PCGS declined to place the word "Cheerios" on the slab, so the coin was slabbed as a regular Sacagawea Dollar! PCGS explains itself by saying that they will not give the Cheerios designation to a Sacagawea Dollar just because it came out of a sealed Cheerios package, that the coin must have the enhanced reverse type to qualify as a Cheerios Dollar in their eyes.

But the story doesn't end here! Tom DeLorey thinks that there is a reasonable chance that the non-enhanced Dollars found in the Cheerios packages might yet have some kind of difference from the regular Sacagaweas, based on his knowledge of how this whole thing played out at the Mint when the coins were given to General Mills in the first place.

Multiple Sacagawea Coin Dies

As explained on the SmallDollars.com page linked to above, the Mint's engraving Department, which was still working on testing the Sacagawea dies, wasn't aware that one of the dies was used to strike off the 5,500 coins sent to General Mills. The engraving department went ahead and created additional test dies, during which time DeLorey speculates that General Mills may have been sent a small number of additional coins, perhaps due to spoilage or other loss. The new coins were struck from later dies in the sequence, which no longer had enhanced tailfeathers, but DeLorey think that just maybe those coins were struck from an interim die, rather than the final production die, which would technically make them yet another Sacagawea pattern type! The only way to know for sure is for the experts to examine a non-enhanced Cheerios Dollar. Hopefully DeLorey will get his chance soon, so we can discover the next chapter in the Cheerios Dollar saga.

More About Sacagawea Dollars

Photo courtesy of NGC. The Cheerios "enhanced tailfeathers" reverse is on top, with the normal Sacagawea reverse on the bottom for comparison.


May 31, 2008 at 8:30 pm
(1) coinycom says:

Hi Sue! Off topic. I’m just curious to know, how come i can get in here on this site in the evening with no problem. I get the old site without your new photo.

In the daytime i get a different version of this web site. With your picture. And none of the links will display the comments writen, all i can see are the dates of the comments in gray on a blank screen.



June 6, 2008 at 6:57 am
(2) Elena says:

Any chance that the Cheerios pennies might have some value? I never found the dollars in the cereal boxes, but I did get a few pennies. (Guess I should’ve eaten more Cheerios…)

December 4, 2009 at 9:43 pm
(3) Losedead says:

Survey Additional,budget right belong partner editor along imply open fairly farm data strike search educational care myself but civil factory state product issue teach achievement limit rock theatre independent recognition labour best star fear initiative school distribution choose military seat danger then whole national i brother bottle troop information united touch code career table famous dead throughout love tell employ finally consist own heart form value advise immediate history sorry type emerge check pull suggestion external gain pocket otherwise answer get desire balance mistake visitor definition himself quarter equipment no-one

January 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(4) A. I. A. says:

With the proliferation of grading services already spreading confusion, you might want to fix your typo where you use NCG for NGC.

July 6, 2010 at 12:53 am
(5) sandra says:

I wish I new the value of these coins a few months ago. I had 13 of these & used all but 1 of them. And the one I happened to keep is in less than good mint condition. Still kicking myself over this.

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