2018 Native American $1 Coin Designs Depict Jim Thorpe


Jim Thorpe will be honored on the Native American $1 Coin for 2018, recently published candidate designs reveal.

Design candidates 2018 Native American $1 Coin
Design candidates for the 2018 Native American $1 Coin

Fifteen designs are competing for the reverse or tails side of the dollar. Each of them features a design emblematic of Thorpe’s athletic accomplishments. Thorpe, who was a Sac and Fox Native American, is often credited as the world’s greatest athlete.

Proposed designs for the 2018-dated coin were reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee on Oct. 7 and by the Commission of Fine Arts on Oct. 15. Not too unusual, the two presented differing opinions as to which designs were the best.

CFA Recommendation

The CFA selected the same #4 design as Thorpe’s sons. Shown directly below, it depicts a profile of Thorpe in the background while the foreground highlights his achievement in football and as an Olympian. Inscriptions include JIM THORPE and BRIGHT PATH.

Candidate 2018-NA-R-04, the preferred design of Thorpe’s sons and the Commission of Fine Arts

The CFA suggested replacing BRIGHT PATH with WA-THO-HUK, Thorpe’s Indian name that translates in English to "Bright Path."

CCAC Recommendation

The CCAC preferred design #10, which highlights Jim Thorpe’s football career. This design depicts Thorpe against a silhouetted Chief Black Hawk, one of his ancestors.

Candidate 2018-NA-R-10, the suggested design of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee

The CCAC also passed motions for recommended revisions. Their suggestions include:

  • Inscription of JIM THORPE moved from the Chief Black Hawk silhouette to the upper left border, replacing BRIGHT-PATH.
  • Enlarging Thorpe’s depiction within the silhouette.
  • The use of the Lithos font for border inscriptions, like used on Native American $1 Coins from 2009 to 2012.

Line Art Images of Candidate Designs

Below are line art images and descriptions of all the design candidates.

Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-01
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-02
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-03

2017-NA-R-01, 2017-NA-R-02, and 2017-NA-R-03 highlight Jim Thorpe’s participation in decathlon events held during the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Design #3 incorporates a black sparrow hawk, a reference to Thorpe’s ancestor, Chief Black Hawk. The design contains one or more of the following inscriptions: "Jim Thorpe," Bright Path," "Wa-Tho-Huk," and "All American Olympian."

Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-04

2017-NA-R-04 depicts Jim Thorpe in the background, while the foreground highlights his achievements in football and as an Olympian. The design has the additional inscriptions "Jim Thorpe" and "Bright Path."

Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-05
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-06

2017-NA-R-05 and 2017-NA-R-06 depict Jim Thorpe as a football player or an Olympian discus thrower. The additional inscriptions include his English name "Jim Thorpe" and his Indian name "Wa-Tho-Huk."

Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-07

2017-NA-R-07 depicts Jim Thorpe as he waits for the javelin throw event. It incorporates a stylized black sparrow hawk, a reference to Thorpe’s ancestor Chief Black Hawk. The additional inscriptions are "Jim Thorpe," "Wa-Tho-Huk," and "All American."

Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-08
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-09
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-10

2017-NA-R-08, 2017-NA-R-09, and 2017-NA-R-10 highlight Jim Thorpe’s football career. Design #9 incorporates his Olympic medals and a black sparrow hawk, a reference to Thorpe’s ancestor Chief Black Hawk, while design #10 incorporates a silhouette Chief Black Hawk. Designs contain one or more of the additional inscriptions "Jim Thorpe," "Bright Path," "Wa-Tho-Huk," and "Spirit of Excellence."

Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-11
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-12
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-13
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-14
Design Candidate 2018-NA-R-15

2017-NA-R-11, 2017-NA-R-12, 2017-NA-R-13, 2017-NA-R-14, and 2017-NA-R-15 highlight Jim Thorpe’s athleticism. Designs #11 and #13 depict Thorpe in his Canton Bulldogs football gear, while design #12 has him proudly displaying his Olympic gold medals. In the background of all three designs are silhouettes of Thorpe engaging in the 1500 meter run, the 110 meter hurdles, the shot put, and the discus throw events. Design #14 depicts him kneeling with baseball and football gear in the front of him, while design #15 depicts him posed in his athletic uniform. The designs contain one or more of the additional inscriptions "Jim Thorpe," "Wa-Tho-Huk," and "1888-1952."

Design Requirements and Final Selection

Under the authorizing law of the series, Public Law 110-82, the Treasury Secretary is tasked with making final design selections. The chosen design must celebrate the contributions to the United States by Native American tribes and individuals.

Obverses or heads side of Native American $1 Coins share Glenna Goodacre’s portrait of Sacagawea carrying her infant son, Jean-Baptiste.

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A great athlete who was badly treated. It is a pleasure to see him honored.


I know he got his fame from playing in sports but I hope they don’t concentrate on just one sport on the coin.


How long will the NA dollar program continue? I thought it might end with the Presidential dollar program.


Thankfully the Presidential dollars will end. My understanding is the NA dollars will continue on as the official dollar coin especially should the holdouts in Congress ever move into the 21st Century and get rid of the $1 bill (and the penny – not part of this discussion).


I hate to sound cynical, but Congress is in Crane Paper’s back pocket. Every time anyone so much as whispers about getting rid of the $1 bill they send an army of lobbyists to defend their monopoly, at which point the pols start bleating about “tradition” and “it ain’t broke” (even though it is). Nothing like wasting hundreds of millions annually to defend an antique denomination…. That said, I don’t understand why the proposals to eliminate the $1 bill are silent about ramping up production of a $2 denomination. A widely-used Two would save even more in production costs and… Read more »


I like the R-10.


I like both R04 and R10 R04 shows more of his athletic achievements Football and Olympian representing the US and I like his portrait, R10 I basically like for the silhouette of Chief Black Hawk but it only shows Jim Thorpe as a football player and I don’t think his features will show up in this design, especially given the crass work the US Mint does with human features…


On second thought I like R04 more, has the Mint ever minted a coin that shows the same person three times on one side?


I’m also in for R04 or R10, in that order of preference. R01 is artistically interesting too so I’ll mark it as a backup choice.

Danny McGinley

why not make 5 different coins. I like 4- 10- 6-9 and 15 with a better thorpe pic.


I’m not sure about this coin. Isn’t the Native American Coin Series used to represent an Indian tribe and not an individual person? Of course I’m probably wrong about that. Either way I will still be getting the Native American Coin & Currency Set and everything else I get each year.

Don Gillies

R-10 is very cool but it emphasizes only football and his indian heritage. They should put some olympic medals on his chest, like R-09. I can see why R-04 won, it depicts 2 sports and I’m a huge fan of those big times-roman UNITED STATES OF AMERICA logos at the bottom of just about any coin … Unfortunately there is nothing indian about that design …