Sacagawea dollar was proposed as an alternate to the Susan B. Anthony dollar. It is currently produced with alternate backing every year since 2009 marking different accomplishments between the Native Americans and United States government.
Before it went into production, this coin was proposed as an alternate to the Statue of Liberty dollar, but that idea was soon abandoned.
It went into production in 2000. Production followed with wide marketing campaign, including TV commercials, ads and posters.
The first version of the coin featured Sacagawea with her infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, as designed by sculptor Glenna Goodacre depicted on the one side and an 'soaring eagle' designed by Mint sculptor-engraver Thomas D. Rogers, on the reverse.
During the promotion Sacagawea dollar was offered as a first coin that had mark of the new millennium, namely year 2000 printed on the side. Some of the 5500 dollars were placed in boxes of Cherios oat cereal.
Five years after the campaign it was discovered that those coins were 'pre-production test coins' and had some different characteristics than the regular mint that were printed several months later.
Those coins had more detailed design depicted since it was later decided to lover the quality due to the mass production process and to lower the costs of production.
It was left to a sharp eye to discover the fine details on the back of the coin depicting eagle's wings and tail that show intricate feather detail, including raised central feather shafts and numerous veins. These details are absent on the adopted design on which the central tail feather shows an incuse shaft.
The Sacagawea dollar did not prove much popular with the public, and production of mintage dropped sharply the second year.
Several gold Sacagawea dollars were made but with the 5 dollar denomination so that they would be distinguishable from their original counterpart.
The production was supposed to be sold to collectors but it was halted due to the questioning of the producers by the members of congress.
Large scale production was aborted and only twelve coins were produced. Those coins were boarded onto shuttle Columbia to commemorate the historic flight of the Space Shuttle in July 1999.
These dollars are being kept at the Fort Knox national treasury and being offered to public at selected shows.
Sacagawea dollar had mixed reviews and reception. While other praised the gold distinctiveness of the mint, others stated that it was tailored to the needs of the vending machines producers and that it looked more like 'play money'.