Dollar coin (United States)

Dollar coin
United States
Value 1.00 U.S. dollar
Mass 8.100 (2000-) g (0.260  troy oz)
Diameter 26.5 mm (1.043 in)
Thickness 2.00 mm (0.079 in)
Edge Plain with incised inscriptions
Composition Copper with manganese brass clad ( copper 88.5%, zinc 6%, manganese 3.5%, nickel 2%)
Years of minting 1794–present [1]
Catalog number
Sacagawea dollar obverse.png
Design Profile of Sacagawea with her child, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
Designer Glenna Goodacre
Design date 2000 (modified 2009)
2017 Native American Dollar Reverse.png
Design Images with contributions made by Native American tribes and individual Native Americans to the history of the United States
Designer Various

The dollar coin is a United States coin worth one United States dollar. It is the second largest American coin currently minted for circulation in terms of physical size, with a diameter of 1.043 inches (26.5 mm) and a thickness of .079 inches (2 mm), coming second to the half dollar. Dollar coins have been minted in the United States in gold, silver, and base metal versions. Dollar coins were first minted in the United States in 1794. The term silver dollar is often used for any large white metal coin issued by the United States with a face value of one dollar, whether or not it contains some of that metal. While true gold dollars are no longer minted, the Sacagawea and Presidential dollars are sometimes referred to as golden dollars due to their color.

Dollar coins have never been very popular in the United States since the removal of specie coins from circulation. Despite efforts by the government to promote their use, such as the Presidential $1 Coin Program, most Americans currently use the one-dollar bill rather than dollar coins. [2] For this reason, since December 11, 2011, the Mint has not produced dollar coins for general circulation, and all dollar coins produced after that date have been specifically for collectors and can be ordered directly from the Mint, and pre-2012 circulation dollar coins are able to be obtained from most U.S. banks. [3] [4]


The gold dollar (1849–89) was a tiny coin measuring only 13 mm making it difficult to grasp and easy to lose, a serious problem when a dollar was almost a day's wage.

Dollar coins have found little popular acceptance in circulation in the United States since the early 20th century, despite several attempts since 1971 to increase their usage. This contrasts with currencies of most other developed countries, where denominations of similar value exist only in coin. These coins have largely succeeded because of a removal (or lack) of their corresponding paper issues, [5] whereas the United States government has taken no action to remove the one-dollar bill.

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated that discontinuing the dollar bill in favor of the dollar coin would save the U.S. government approximately $5.5 billion over thirty years primarily through seigniorage. [5] [6] The Federal Reserve has refused to order the coin from the mint for distribution citing a lack of demand, according to ex-Mint director Philip Diehl in November 2012. [7]

Whatever the reason, a U.S. Mint official claimed in a November 2012 meeting that most of the 2.4 billion dollar coins minted in the previous five years were not in circulation. [8]

Although the distribution of the dollar coin is limited due to lack of popularity, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York city and several other transit systems use dollar coins as change from ticket purchases from machines at stations.