The United States Mint displayed for the first time 12 gold proof Sacagawea Golden Dollars that flew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1999. United States Mint Director Ed Moy unveiled the coins at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money® in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today. The coins traveled nearly two million miles as the shuttle orbited the Earth. They will remain on display at the United States Mint booth # 1201 through Sunday, August 12.
With the media, convention attendees and invited guests gathered at the United States Mint booth, Director Moy and ANA Executive Director Chris Cipoletti removed a large curtain covering the exhibit to reveal the 22–karat gold coins that to date had never been seen by the public.
“The United States Mint is delighted to make these rare American treasures available to the public and the worldwide coin–collecting community,” said Director Ed Moy. “Although their estimated value has not been established, there are only 12 of them in existence and they are unique as historic artifacts.”
The gold numismatic versions were produced to create public awareness of the Sacagawea Golden Dollar, which went into general circulation in January 2000. Like the circulating coin, the 12 gold proof Golden Dollars feature an image of Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who assisted Lewis and Clark on their 8,000–mile expedition.
Director Moy said, “These coins, which have been stored at the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, were struck to commemorate the historic flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1999, which was the first one commanded by a woman, Colonel Eileen Collins.”
Following the unveiling of the coins, Directory Moy signed commemorative post cards marking the historic occasion.
After the shuttle flight, the 12 half–ounce gold Sacagawea Golden Dollar coins were ultimately transferred to Fort Knox, where they’ve remained ever since.
The special pieces were struck at the United States Mint at Philadelphia on half–ounce gold planchets. They were inscribed with a “W” mint mark because the United States Mint planned to eventually mint duplicate coins at the United States Mint at West Point and sell the coins to the public. However, those plans were canceled.
After being displayed at the World’s Fair of Money®, the 12 gold Sacagawea Golden Dollar Coins will be returned to Fort Knox. The United States Mint will entertain requests from museums and other institutions to display the coins.