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obverse design of the Golden Dollar   reverse design of the Golden Dollar
Obverse Design   Reverse Design

Obverse Design

The Golden Dollar's obverse, or heads, has Sacagawea portrayed in three-quarter profile. In a departure from numismatic tradition, she looks straight at the holder. Glenna Goodacre, the artist of the obverse, included the large, dark eyes attributed to Sacagawea in Shoshone legends. Goodacre used a present-day Shoshone college student, Randy'L He-dow Teton, as her model.

On her back, Sacagawea carries Jean Baptiste, her infant son. Six months pregnant when she joined the Lewis and Clark expedition, Sacagawea gave birth to Jean Baptiste early in the journey.

Reverse Design

Designed to successfully complement the obverse, the selected reverse features a soaring eagle encircled by 17 stars. The 17 stars represent each state in the Union at the time of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition.

Glenna Goodacre, Sculptor

Glenna Goodacre designed the winning obverse image of Sacagawea and her infant son Jean-Baptiste for the Golden Dollar.

Goodacre is well known for her portrait busts and figures and for her interesting sculptural compositions of active children. Her pieces are in numerous private, corporate, municipal, national, and international collections. Goodacre’s works are widely exhibited and have won several awards.

Other important works of art

  • Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, DC
  • Over 40 bronze portraits including: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Barbara Jordan, Katherine Anne Porter, Lt. Karl W. Richter
  • 7-1/2 ft. standing portrait of President Ronald Reagan for the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and the Reagan Presidential Library in Los Angeles (1998)

Glenna Goodacre designed the original version of the selected obverse design (background) which was modified slightly, for minting, into the final design (foreground).

In addition to the specifications specified by the Dollar Coin Act the Secretary of the Treasury required that the coin's obverse and reverse designs be as follows:

  • Obverse must depict one or more women, but could not depict a living person.
  • Reverse must depict an eagle.
  • The coin should have similar metallic, anti-counterfeiting properties as current circulating U.S. coins.

Physical Composition

The dollar coin features distinguishing traits including: a golden color, extra-wide border, smooth edge like the nickel's, and specially designed alloy.

Specifically, the Golden Dollar is: 8.1 grams in weight, 2 mm thick, and 26.5 mm in diameter.

The coins physical makeup is a three-layer clad construction - pure copper sandwiched between and metallurgically bonded to outer layers of manganese brass.

Manganese brass composition:     Golden Dollar's overall composition:
  • 77% copper
  • 12% zinc
  • 7% manganese
  • 4% nickel
  • 88.5% copper
  • 6.0% zinc
  • 3.5% manganese
  • 2% nickel