Stan Collander has an interesting post on the unfortunate history of the Sacagawea dollar. For my international readers - several years back the U.S. decided to mint a bunch of new dollar coins with a picture of Sacagawea (the Shoshone Indian guide of Lewis and Clark in their expedition across the U.S.) on it. It was all released with a lot of fan-fare, but the strange thing is you rarely see these coins anymore. Collander explains part of the reason why.
But then the question remains - where are those coins? I actually found out where a lot of them are recently, and this post is as good an opportunity as any to share: Ecuador.
Or so I'm told by an Ecuadorian colleague of mine at American. Apparently Ecuador recently dollarized, so now while they still issue some of their own coins, dollars and American coins are legal tender in Ecuador. And apparently they love Sacagawea dollars down there and use them all the time! So if you ever wondered where all those coins went, now you know.
I'm not sure what it is with Americans and large denomination coins. We just don't like them. The Europeans have them, but we don't. I think it goes back to the good old days of inflationist revolutionaries sticking it to the king. If only Benjamin Franklin's money demand theory of the interest rate (which was based in those paper money fights) persisted as long as our resistance to large denomination coins did!