Gold dollars hit town and disappear |

Gold dollars hit town and disappear

Rex Bovee

Ten thousand pieces of “gold” hit town, then promptly disappeared.

The Carson City Wal-Mart store received 10,000 of the new gold-colored Sacagawea dollar coins in late December and gave them out in change as part of a corporate agreement with the U.S. Mint to distribute the new coin nationally.

“We’ve got fewer than a hundred of them left this morning. That first shipment will be all gone today,” a spokesman at the Carson Wal-Mart said Wednesday. He said another shipment will arrive next week.

The new dollar coins that have left Wal-Mart don’t appear to be going into circulation locally. Calls to Carson City branches of seven banks Wednesday did not turn up one instance of a Sacagawea dollar coming in as a deposit. And employees at three groceries said the only examples they have seen are when customers brought in the gold-colored coins to show them off.

The dollar coin is the same size and weight as the unpopular Susan B. Anthony coins of the early 1980s, but the brass coating and smooth edge make the 2000 version easier to distinguish from slightly smaller quarters by sight or feel.

The Sacagawea dollar, which depicts the young Shoshone woman who acted as an interpreter and diplomat for the Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804 to 1806, will not be distributed to banks through the Federal Reserve System until March.

The mint has planned a six-month promotional campaign to familiarize Americans with the new coin.

Besides the Wal-Mart distribution, the mint is putting a Sacagawea dollar in one out of every 2,000 boxes of Cheerios cereal of 10 million specially marked boxes. One box out of every 4,400 will have a certificate redeemable for 100 of the dollars.

The 9 million-plus Cheerios boxes that do not contain one of the new dollars will have a shiny 2000 penny inside.