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I remember seeing my first Sacagawea dollar. It was summer 2001, and I was working at the Boogie Woogie Bagel Boy in Oakland, Calif. I thought it was a joke, like the $200 bill a guy tried to use the day earlier. It was, obviously, for real, and the rest of the summer rained golden dollar coins. It was exciting. In the fall, I came back East, and my Sacagawea spottings became fewer and fewer, until there seemed to be no Sacagaweas at all. I once worked in a bar in D.C. that had two Sacagawea coins permanently stationed in the corner tray of the cash register. The drawer always came up $2 short until someone remembered the coins. We didn’t know what to do with them. Give them as change? Take them home as tips? Include them in the drop? They seem like fake money. No one uses them. Are they just piling up in collectors’ houses?
During a little Sacagawea research, I stumbled upon this shocking information. There are presidential dollar coins! The Mint is releasing four a year. 2007 saw the unleashing of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. 2008 has already brought Monroe, with Adams (the other one), Jackson, and Van Buren close behind. I’ve never seen any of these coins. Have you? Why make money if no one’s going to spend it?