"Trade Routes in the 17th Century" is the new design theme for the 2012 Native American $1 coin, the United States Mint said today during an unveiling of the dollar design. The new coin is expected to be issued early next year and minted throughout 2012 to meet demand.
Native American $1s must feature annually changing reverse designs that contain "images celebrating the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the development of the United States and the history of the United States." The design requirement is mandated by the Native American $1 Coin Act (Public Law 110-82).
The 2012 design portrays a Native American and horse in the foreground with running horses in the background. Designed by Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, the design signifies the historical spread of the horse. Surrounding the scene are the inscriptions "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "$1."
As in all the Native American $1 coins, Sacagawea is featured on the obverse. The design, by Glenda Goodacre, first appeared on the 2000 Sacagawea golden dollar and shows the famous Shoshone woman (with a child on her back) who accompanied explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition through the frontiers of America. The inscriptions "LIBERTY" and "IN GOD WE TRUST" surround the portrait.
Struck from copper covered in manganese brass to create the golden color, the $1 coins also feature edge inscribed lettering of the year 2012, "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and a mint mark denoting which United States Mint facility produced it. United States Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia will be responsible for striking issues for circulation and collector uncirculated versions while the San Francisco Mint will produce the brilliant, mirror-like versions distributed in collector proof sets. The mint marks, therefore, will be either ‘D’, ‘P’ or ‘S’. Edge-incused inscription positions vary with each coin.
2012 Native American dollars will be found in the following United States Mint numismatic products:
- 2012 Proof Set
- 2012 Mint Set
- 2012 Silver Proof Set
Also, when the new design is launched into circulation next year, it is expected the United States Mint will offer $25 rolls filled with either Philadelphia or Denver produced coins. Rolls for this year’s design remain available at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog for $39.95.
The coin’s actual composition is 88.5% copper, 6% zinc, 3.5% manganese and 2% nickel. Each weighs 8.1 grams and has a diameter of 26.5 mm.
Presidential $1 coins are also minted during the same time frame as the Native American $1 coin, but legislation requires that at least 20% of all the dollar coins produced by the Mint must be Native American. The four 2012 Presidential dollars will feature portraits of Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and a second strike marking the second administration of Grover Cleveland. When the Presidential dollar series ends around 2016, the Native American coins will continue with new designs as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury with input from other parties.