2017 Native American $1 Coin Designs Depict Sequoyah


Thirteen proposed designs for the 2017 Native American $1 Coin went under the microscope, but the two panels reviewing them didn’t agree on which one was best. One thing is almost assured, the eventual design will depict Sequoyah, a Cherokee silversmith and inventor of the characters for reading and writing the Cherokee language.

Design candidates 2017 Native American $1 Coin
Design candidates for the 2017 Native American $1 Coin

The newest U.S. dollar series, which features annually changing reverses and was introduced in 2009, celebrates the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the history and development of the United States.

Candidate designs for the 2017 dollar were reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on Oct. 7 and by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on Oct. 15.

Commission of Fine Arts Recommendation

Members of the Commission of Fine Arts preferred design #1. It shows a cropped profile of Sequoyah writing United States of American in Cherokee syllabary. The design is presented immediately below.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-01

CCAC Recommendation

Members of the CCAC recommended design #2, seen directly below, which features Sequoyah with a quill in hand.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-02

This design depicts Sequoyah creating the original symbols for writing in Cherokee. Inscriptions around it include CHEROKEE SYLLABARY as well as Sequoyah’s name in English at the lower border and in Cherokee above his writing tablet.

The CCAC passed three motions for revisions to the design. Their suggestions include:

  • Inscription of CHEROKEE SYLLABARY changed to CHEROKEE NATION.
  • Exterior dot between inscriptions changed to the Cherokee Nation’s logo, a seven pointed star. The star is featured in design #5, which caught the notice of several CCAC members.
  • The Lithos font for the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The recommendation was made to regain continuity of series from 2009-2012. Native American $1 Coins of those year used this same font.

Design Requirements and Final Selection

Under the authorizing law of the series, Public Law 110-82, the U.S. Treasury Secretary is tasked with making final design selections.

Obverses or heads side of the annually issued dollars share Glenna Goodacre’s portrait of Sacagawea carrying her infant son, Jean-Baptiste.

Images of Remaining Designs

Below are the images and descriptions of design candidates #3 through #13.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-03
Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-04

2017-NA-R-03 depicts Sequoyah holding a writing plume and his tablet. The additional inscription of "Sequoyah" is inscribed in both Cherokee and English along the bottom border of the design.

2017-NA-R-04 depicts Sequoyah holding a copy of the Cherokee syllabary up to the viewer. His name is inscribed along the bottom border of the design in Cherokee and English.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-05

2017-NA-R-05 depicts a quill and Cherokee Nation’s logo, the seven pointed star. The tip of the quill pen rests at the final stroke of Sequoyah’s name, which is written in Cherokee. His name is also included in English.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-06
Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-07

2017-NA-R-06 and 2017-NA-R-07 depict Sequoyah either writing or pointing to the characters of the Cherokee syllabary.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-08
Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-09

2017-NA-R-08 depicts an image of Sequoyah holding his tablet. The additional inscriptions are "Sequoyah" and "Inventor of the Cherokee syllabary."

2017-NA-R-09 depicts Sequoyah looking at his tablet. The additional inscriptions are several Cherokee characters along the inner circle of the design.

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-10
Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-11

2017-NA-R-10 features Sequoyah sitting at a desk with quill in hand and the additional inscription of "Sequoyah."

2017-NA-R-11 features Sequoyah with quill in hand as he points to his newly developed syllabary. The additional inscription is "Sequoyah."

Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-12
Design Candidate 2017-NA-R-13

2017-NA-R-12 depicts Sequoyah pointing to the syllabary as his daughter Ahyoka looks on. The design includes the additional inscription "Sequoyah."

2017-NA-R-13 features Sequoyah and his daughter Ahyoka, who is holding the syllabary. It contains the additional inscription "Sequoyah."

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george glazener

Very Nice…! Glad to see my native Cherokee homeland and its people honored. I’ve been hoping for this for a long time…!


I prefer design 05 for the simplicity.
Perhaps the portrait chosen will look better on the coin.


Design R-08 caught my eye.

Ruth LaFortune

My choice is #12, Sequoyah and his daughter. when will the choice be made and when can I get a few of these coins?

Ruth LaFortune

I am a descendant of Sequoyah and live in Sallisaw, OK.