On January 4, 2010, the United States Mint began selling rolls of 2001 Sacagawea Dollars through their Direct Ship Program. Because the offering was unusual, unexpected, and priced at face value, I ordered a box. I received the coins today and wanted to provide a brief report.*
The Direct Ship Rolls are sold in quantities of 250 coins at face value with no charge for shipping. These are packaged in ten 25-coin rolls placed within a cardboard box. In previous instances when I had ordered Direct Ship rolls, they had been packaged in N.F. String & Son red and white wrappers. These types of wrappers are commonly encountered on rolls of coins obtained from banks.
When I opened the box of Direct Ship Rolls which arrived today, I was surprised to see that the wrappers were the yellow and black style that the US Mint has used for their premium priced numismatic rolls.
When the 2001 Sacagawea Dollar was initially released, the US Mint had sold bags and rolls of the coins for collectors. The 25-coin rolls were available from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint and priced at $35.50 each. Today, these original rolls can sell for a significant premium on the secondary market. This premium is driven solely by the packaging since 2001 Sacagawea Dollars has a high mintage can be easily found.
At first, I thought that the rolls I received might have been remnants of the US Mint’s old inventory. Upon doing some further research, I found that the style of packaging on the Direct Ship rolls differs from the original 2001 Sacagawea Dollar rolls sold by the US Mint.
The original have a small image of the obverse and reverse of the coin on the wrapper and include the mint mark “P” or “D”. (See this eBay auction.) The rolls from the Direct Ship program display the US Mint logo and do not indicate the mint mark. It is very odd that the US Mint would use the premium style of packaging for Direct Ship rolls, but at least in this case there is still a way to differentiate the offerings.
The 2001 Sacagawea Dollars that I received all appear to be from the Philadelphia Mint. I have opened one roll so far, and the rolls displaying at least one heads-side have the “P” mint mark. The condition of the coins contained in the rolls was uncirculated, but nearly all of the coins displayed spotty discoloration. See images below with scanner and camera.