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HomeUS Coins2019-D Native American Dollar - Mary Golda Ross : A Collector's Guide

2019-D Native American Dollar – Mary Golda Ross : A Collector’s Guide

2019-D Native American Dollar - Mary Golda Ross. Image: U.S. Mint / Adobe Stock / CoinWeek.
2019-D Native American Dollar – Mary Golda Ross. Image: U.S. Mint / Adobe Stock / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes ….
 

2019 was a special year for the United States Mint as it celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Besides the innovative curved coins of the Apollo 11 commemorative program, the Mint continued the theme by honoring Native Americans in space on the reverse of the 2019 Native American Golden Dollar. Every year since 2009, the Mint has issued a new reverse for the Sacagawea Dollar. The series was authorized by the Native American $1 Coin Act (PDF link) to honor the legacies and contributions of Native Americans to United States history and culture.

The Act also mandated that each year, the Sacagawea Dollar (now known as the Native American Dollar) would have a mintage equivalent to 20% of the annual small dollar coinage.

Several people are featured on the coin, including Mary Golda Ross; a space-walking astronaut representative of astronauts like John Herrington; a member of the Chickasaw Nation who served as a Mission Specialist on STS-113, a mission wherein Space Shuttle Endeavor rendezvoused with the International Space Station in November 2002.

Who Was Mary Golda Ross?

Mary Golda Ross was born on August 9, 1908, in Park Hill, Oklahoma. She was the great-granddaughter of Cherokee Chief John Ross, a key leader of the Cherokee people following the Trail of Tears. Educated in mathematics and engineering, Mary Golda Ross was a pioneering figure in engineering, serving as the first female engineer ever employed by Lockheed Corporation. In 1952, she joined their Advanced Development Program and contributed designs for interplanetary craft, satellites, and vehicles that remain classified today.

Ross’s team worked at the Atlas-Agena rocket, which took astronauts into Earth’s orbit during the Gemini missions. She also worked to develop the Poseidon and Trident missile systems.

Ross also made key contributions to NASA’s Planetary Flight Handbook, Vol. 3 (PDF link), which provided tables and contour charts related to planet orbits, trajectory data, and other information necessary for space flight. Mary Golda Ross died on April 29, 2008, at the age of 99.

What Is the 2019-D Native American Dollar Worth?

The U.S. Mint began accepting orders for the 2019-P and 2019-D Native American Dollar honoring Mary Golda Ross at noon on February 13, 2019. Denver Mint coins could be ordered in 25-coin rolls, 100-coin bags, or 250-coin (10-roll) boxes. The Mint applied a modest surcharge of 31.8¢ per coin for single rolls, which was reduced to just over 10¢ per coin for the larger coin product offerings.

United States 2019 Native American $1 Coin product options. Info courtesy US Mint

As for the Business Strike examples, the 2019-P Native American dollar was struck only for the collector market. None were issued for circulation, and examples of the date will have been placed into commercial channels only at the whims of their owners, or perhaps coin dealers as part of a promotion.

Raw examples of the date sell for about $2 to $3 per coin on sites like eBay. Buyers of certified coins, however, should understand that golden dollar coins tarnish and can tone in the holder. Proper storage is recommended.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS MS68 (1, 7/2024), NGC MS69DPL (38, 7/2024), and CAC N/A (0:0 stickered:graded, 7/2024).

  • NGC MS68PL #5766286-004: eBay, June 2, 2024 – $73. Possible brockage of rocket on reverse visible to right of Sacagawea on obverse? Sacagawea (Large) novelty label #1370.
  • PCGS MS68 (Pos A) #38078112: eBay, May 19, 2024 – $103.50. First Day of Issue novelty label.
  • PCGS MS68 (Pos B) #38078172: eBay, May 19, 2024 – $107.50. First Day of Issue novelty label. Same seller as Position A specimen above.

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Design

Obverse:

The obverse portrays Sacagawea, a member of the Lemhi Shoshone tribe who acted as the guide for the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-06. While her bust faces right in a classic three-quarter profile, Sacagawea looks directly at the viewer. She also carries her infant son Jean-Baptiste on her back. Since the design guidelines requested that all submissions “be sensitive to cultural authenticity and try to avoid creating a representation of a classical European face in Native American headdress,” Sacagawea is depicted in a naturalistic style. Designer Glenna Goodacre utilized a modern Shoshone woman named Randy’L He-dow Teton as her model.

Above Sacagawea’s head is the word LIBERTY; in the left-hand field is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Designer Glenna Goodacre’s initials G.G can be seen on the infant’s swaddling cloth at the bottom of the design.

Reverse:

Mary Golda Ross is positioned to the left in the foreground. She is writing calculations. Behind her, an Atlas-Agena rocket launches into space, leaving billowy clouds of smoke near the surface. On top of that cloud is the following mathematical equation: v2 = V2 – 2µ/r. Gripping onto the inner border is an astronaut, symbolic of Native American astronauts, performing a space walk. A constellation of stars appears in the field. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA wraps around the top of the design, while the denomination, inscribed as $1, is positioned inside the inner border at 3 o’clock, the bottom of the numeral obscured by smoke. Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Emily S. Damstra’s designer initials ESD are located just behind Ross’ back. Future Chief Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted Damstra’s design; his initials JFM are located below the equation

Edge:

The edge of the 2019 Native American Dollar features the date 2019, the mintmark D, and the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, with stars separating each of the three inscriptions.

Designers

The Sacagawea obverse was designed by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Before her 1999 design for the Sacagawea dollar, Goodacre was known for creating the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and the Irish Memorial in Philadelphia.

Emily Damstra has worked as a freelance science illustrator in a variety of media. She has a Masters in Fine Arts in Science Illustration from the University of Michigan and has designed several coins for the Royal Canadian Mint (View Designer’s Profile).

United States Chief Engraver Joseph Menna has more than three dozen coin and medal designs to his credit since joining the Mint in 2005 (View Designer’s Profile).

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year of Issue: 2019
Denomination: One Dollar (USD)
Mintmark: D (Denver)
Mintage: 1,540,000
Alloy: 88.5% Copper, 6% Zinc, 3.5% Manganese, and 2% Nickel
Weight: 8.1 g
Diameter: 26.5 mm
Edge: Lettered: 2019, D, E PLURIBUS UNUM
OBV Designer: Glenna Goodacre
REV Designer: Emily Damstra | Joseph Menna
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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