American buffalo coin to be minted


DENVER – United States Mint Director Jay W. Johnson recently hosted a ceremony at the U.S. Mint in Denver to strike the first American Buffalo Commemorative Coin.

“James Earle Fraser’s classic designs are recognized as icons of the original Americans,” said Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill, speaking from Washington.

The one-dollar silver commemorative coin is based on the celebrated Buffalo nickel, designed by James Earle Fraser and minted from 1913 through 1938.

Three different American Indians, Chief Iron Tail, Chief Big Tree and Chief Two Moons, who were performers in Wild West shows in New York City, modeled for Fraser.

The buffalo model for the coin came from New York’s Central Park Zoo.

For a good cause.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the American Buffalo Commemorative Coin will help fund the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, scheduled for 2004 in Washington, as well as the museum’s endowment and educational outreach efforts.

“The buffalo was always a great benefit and blessing to American Indians in the past,” said Rick West, director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

“Just as the buffalo made our lives whole in the 19th century, the sales of the American Buffalo Commemorative Coin in the 21st century will benefit the museum that serves to commemorate and celebrate the lives of American Indians.”

What it looks like.

The obverse of the coin features a striking American Indian profile and the reverse features an American buffalo. The coin is legal tender and struck from 26.73 grams of 90 percent silver.

The uncirculated coin will be minted in Denver, and the proof coin will be minted in Philadelphia.

The coin goes on sale June 7. Customers may call 1-800-USA-MINT to order by telephone.

Customers may also order by mail; send check or money order to United States Mint, P.O. Box 382614, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-8614. Allow 4-6 weeks from June 7 for delivery.


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