Cheerios Dollar BackgroundAccording 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 DollarNow, 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 DiesAs 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
- Who Was Sacagawea and Why Was She Put on a Coin?
- SmallDollars.com Sacagawea Dollar Section
- PCGS Article About the Non-Pattern Cheerios Dollar