How often do you come across any Sacagawea dollar coins in your daily life? The golden coin featuring Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who helped guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is still in circulation, but spotting one is pretty rare. Although most of them are still only worth a buck when you do find one, there are some out there that could earn you plenty more than face value.
Back when the United States Mint first began issuing the coin back in 2000, they partnered with General Mills to release 5,500 of them in Cheerios cereal boxes. Even though it’s just one dollar, we can’t think of a better cereal box prize than actual money! That’s even more true for anyone who happened to receive a coin with extra-detailed tail feathers on the eagle depicted on the backside — though they probably didn’t realize it at the time.
According to the Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), it wasn’t until 2005 when a collector named Tom LeLory noticed a slightly altered design on some of these “Cheerios Dollars” (as they’ve since become known). Where most of them have only vertical lines on the eagle’s tail feathers, these special versions include horizontal detailing. Again, not on bird’s the wings, but the very bottom feathers.
No one knows exactly how many of these more intricately designed coins were mixed in with the bunch placed in cereal boxes, but finding one today can be worth hundreds or thousands more than its face value. PCGS lists an average selling price as $7,500. Not too shabby for a humble buck! You can also see plenty of these coins for sale on eBay with prices between $350 and $7,000 — but you have to take an extra close look at those tail feathers to know whether they’re the real deal or not.
Only about 60 or 70 true Cheerio Dollars with the extra detailing have been found so far, according to the Spruce. The general lack of circulation of the Sacagawea dollar since people seem to greatly prefer using paper cash instead of the coin makes it especially difficult to come across. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t be sitting on one in your coin collection or change purse right now, though, so give them a good look.
We will definitely be using an eagle-eye on all the birds we see on the back of a Sacagawea coin we’re handed from here on out!