By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
The anticipation surrounding the dawning of the new millennium had been building for many years by the time calendars finally changed to the year 2000. While flying cars were nowhere to be seen, the arrival of the third millennium “Anno Domini” was greeted by a throng of numismatic promotional items tied to the chronological occasion.
Among them was the 2000 United States Millennium Coinage & Currency Set, a three-piece offering containing a 2000 (W) One-Ounce American Silver Eagle, a 2000-D Sacagawea dollar with Burnished finish, and a Series 1999 $1 Federal Reserve Note with a serial number beginning with the digits “2000”. The set, packaged in a special presentation folder, was offered by the United States Mint for $39. It was released in summer 2000 with a maximum product mintage of 75,000 and became a quick sellout.
The product was a major success not so much because of the momentous occasion for which it was released but rather due to substantial numismatic interest in at least one of the individual pieces in the set.
As collectors will recall, the year 2000 was a special time for the United States Mint. The wildly popular 50 State Quarters program was in its second year of production and, by all accounts, had already proven itself the most successful U.S. Mint coin program in a generation. The ambitious commemorative program–five new coins a year for 10 years, honoring each of the 50 states in the order they joined the Union–eventually helped bring more than 100 million people into the hobby according to the Mint. Meanwhile, another new and highly anticipated coin had caught the public’s eye – the Sacagawea dollar.
Released in 2000 and promising to be more commercially successful than its Susan B. Anthony dollar predecessor, the Sacagawea dollar enjoyed 15 minutes of national fame before flaming out as consumers rejected the coin in favor of the folding $1 paper banknote. While the new dollar ultimately failed as a circulating coin, the Sacagawea dollar was at the very least pursued by coin collectors. And, in the case of the 2000 Millennium Coinage & Currency Set, the 2000-D Sacagawea dollar packaged with the product became a numismatic spectacle itself.
In the days following the set’s launch, astute collectors realized the 2000-D Sacagawea dollars bore a burnished finish somewhat similar to the 5,000 so-called “Presentation dollars” given to the coin’s obverse sculptor-engraver, Glenna Goodacre, as the contracted pay for her design work on the coin. As word quickly spread throughout the numismatic community in print and online about the special burnished finish on the 2000-D dollar, collectors snapped up the set to sellout status. Within weeks, massive premiums were being paid for the United States Millennium Coinage and Currency Set in the secondary market.
As happens with most modern United States Mint products, collector buzz surrounding the Millennium Coinage & Currency Set eventually simmered down. However, at the time of writing it still trades for around $100 – significantly more than its issue price. This is in large part because of the 2000-D Burnished Sacagawea dollar, which continues attracting steady collector interest.
PCGS has graded about 2,500 specimens. The record price for this coin was paid in 2007, when a PCGS MS68 example realized a respectable $863. Today, specimens in the next grade point down, MS67, retail for around $38.
But what about the other pieces in the set?
The 2000 American Silver Eagle in the Millennium Set was struck at the West Point Mint but does not carry a “W” mintmark. Thus, among the only ways a collector can be sure their example is the special 2000 Millennium Set American Silver Eagle is to either have purchased an untampered Millennium Set or buy a PCGS-graded specimen with the Millennium Set designation – awarded only to pieces submitted in the original mint packaging. Prices are unremarkable for this coin unless it’s in at least MS69. Presently, PCGS has graded only nine examples in MS70, and an example in this grade commanded $7,200 in a 2019 auction.
Meanwhile, the Series 1999 $1 Federal Reserve Note Millennium Set issues leading with “2000” in the serial number trade for around $20 to $30.
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The 2000 United States Millennium Coinage & Currency Set has faded somewhat into obscurity as many other multi-issue sets have come along over the last 20 years. But the Millennium Set represents a special moment in time both for the United States Mint and the numismatic community at large. Offering collectors a small but colorful array of special collectibles appealing to both coin hobbyists and banknote specialists, the importance of this set and its various components still resonates two decades on.