WASHINGTON — If you pay close attention to the coins you carry or receive on a daily basis, you may have noticed the newest presidential dollar, the James Monroe dollar coin that debuted in February. Some of these coins may even have made their way into your laundry. Whether you like the dollar coin or not, get set for a new-look dollar due out in 2009.
New Sacagawea dollars will start circulating alongside the presidential dollars. These dollar coins will still bear the image of Sacagawea on the front, but once a year will have a different reverse design representing the contributions of Native Americans to our heritage.
There was a bit of a snafu with the Sacagawea dollars. Last year a law was enacted that called for circulating new Sacagawea coins starting in 2009 featuring a regularly changing reverse design. However, the sponsors of the law forgot to allow continued production of the existing coin in 2008. In order to rectify this problem, President Bush recently signed into law a bill that will continue the minting of the Sacagawea dollar in 2008, but only for numismatic purposes. No more will be produced for general circulation until next year.
If you find the whole situation somewhat confusing as a citizen as well as the owner of a coin-operated business, it could always be worse. The government could start pushing 50-cent pieces. Yes, these coins, larger than the dollar coins, are still in circulation and bear the likeness of the late John F. Kennedy.