August 11, 2013

2014 dollar to honor Lewis and Clark

7 Choices for the Back of the Next Dollar Coin: What's Your Favorite?According to the coin collecting news site, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has reviewed seven proposed designs for the 2014 Native American one dollar coin and made its recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Native American one dollar coin has a portrait of Sacagawea on its obverse (heads) side, and features a different themed design each year on its reverse (tails). The 2013 Native American one dollar coin commemorates the Delaware Treaty of 1778.

The theme for the 2014 coin is the cooperation among Natives and the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-06. Of the seven designs below, the CFA chose the sixth, a depiction of Chief Cameahwait recommending the alternate route to Captain Lewis. Which is your favorite?

Comment:  As you may know, I follow the Native developments in the numismatics field. This posting led to an interesting discussion on Facebook:

Reverse of the 2014 dollar will honor the Indians' role in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Because the obverse featuring Sacagawea doesn't do that enough already.Sorry, can't quite get far enough past the irony of that big LIBERTY placed over the head of a Native American woman to choose a reverse. That, and the fact that almost all the choices seem to say "They gave us their continent! HOW COOL WAS THAT?!?!?"I guess the Mint has run out of Native subjects, so it had to double down on Sacagawea. I guess not much happened before the Indians met the white man.

"Liberty" and "In God We Trust" are a given on all these coins. But it's a good point. Imagine if we changed the slogans to, I dunno, "Don't Tread on Me" and "In Creator We Trust." The latter would send conservatives into a frenzy; it would be bigger than Benghazi.The Mint could, of course, consider a male Native American subject, but that will never do. There's a reason "America" was represented by a woman on the old maps, and that reason is that "she" was an object to be ravished by "him" (Europe).The Indian Head penny nailed that point to the wall. It featured a little white girl in an Indian headdress. So we got a two-fer on the "Europe rapes America in the name of liberty" theme.

But I'm undecided on featuring Sacagawea. On the one hand, it's nice that they've honored Native women. On the other hand, she's a safe and unthreatening choice.

This will be the third of six coins honoring an accommodation with the white man. Depending on which design they choose, it could be the second to feature a peace pipe. Message: "How wonderful that the Indians got along with the white man." It could be the second to feature food. Message: "How wonderful that the Indians helped sustain the white man."

If the Mint is going in chronological order, the next two coins should feature Tecumseh and the Trail of Tears. Both of which reflect badly on the US.

If they go instead to Sequoyah's inventing the Cherokee syllabary, you can bet the rest of the coins will be equally sanitized.

Deconstruct your coins, people! They have hidden messages!

Incidentally, I vote for design #2 (below). Design #6 would be my second choice.

P.S. If Disney makes a big enough contribution to the US government, can we get Johnny Depp's Tonto on the obverse? After all, the Comanche have told us that his bird hat is authentic.

For more on the Sacagawea dollar, see 2013 Sacagawea Dollar Reverse Unveiled and 2012 Sacagawea Dollar Reverse Unveiled.

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