Today, the United States Mint began accepting orders for 250-coin boxes of 2001 Sacagawea Dollars through their Direct Ship Program. The offering was made without announcement or prior indication that the coins would be offered through the program.
After more than 1.4 billion of the “Golden Dollar” coins had been produced in 2000 and 2001, production was reduced to a few million coins per year for the remainder of the series. These coins were not issued for circulation, but only made available to coin collectors through the US Mint’s numismatic bags and rolls and within annual coin sets.
The Direct Ship Program was created in June 2008 as a way of removing barriers to the circulation of dollar coins. Rather than ordering bulk quantities of the coins through the Federal Reserve, small businesses, financial institutions, and individuals could order the coins in quantities of 250 coins directly from the United States Mint. The coins were sold at face value with no charge for shipping and handling.
The Direct Ship Program was recently the subject of some attention from the mainstream press after it was reported that frequent flier mile enthusiasts had used the program to rack up enormous rewards at zero net cost. The United States Mint has since implemented changes to the program to curb such abuses.
Until now, the coins offered through the Program have only included Presidential Dollar coins issued since 2007 and Native American Dollars issued since 2009.
[Online: US Mint Product Page]