2012 Native American Dollar

On Friday, the US Mint announced the design selection for the 2012 Native American Dollar. The theme for the design is “Trade Routes in the 17th Century”. This will represent the fourth in a series of annually rotating reverse designs which highlight the contributions and accomplishments of Native Americans.

The reverse design features a Native American and a horse in profile. There are horses running in the background, which are intended to represent the historical spread of the horse. Inscriptions read “United States of America” and “$1”. The reverse was designed by Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.

The obverse of the coin will continue to feature the portrait of Sacagawea and child designed by Glenna Goodacre. Inscriptions include “Liberty” and “In God We Trust”. On the edge of the coin are the date, mint mark, and “E Pluribus Unum”.

Originally, the US Mint had prepared thirteen different design candidates for the reverse of the coin. These included seven designs that were traditional depictions and six that were based on the ledger style of Native American art. Both the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee had praised the inclusion of the ledger art designs, however ultimately both lent their official recommendation to the same traditional depiction that was ultimately selected.

[See coverage of the CFA and CCAC recommendations.]

The CFA had recommended some simplification to the design, suggesting the removal of the three running horses in the background. They also recommended moving the “$1” inscription closer to the rim of the coin, in the same circumferential zone as the other text. The US Mint did not follow either of these recommendations.

By law, Native American Dollars must account for at least 20% of all $1 coins minted and issued for each year. However, there is no legal requirement for the special ordering period from Federal Reserve Banks, as mandated for the Presidential Dollars series. As a result, the US Mint has primarily distributed Native American Dollars through the Direct Ship Program. With the removal of credit card ordering and the new $12.50 fulfillment fee for the program, the US Mint might run into problems distributing the entire required production of the 2012 Native American Dollars. We will have to wait and see this situation plays out in the coming year.

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  1. J A says

    This design will look great on the $1 coin but would look incredible on a bigger coin.

    Michael hit the nail on the head. I used to order the native american coins via the Direct Ship program but now with the fulfillment charge, where else can we get them?? The banks don’t carry them and collectors are not going to pay to do the Mint’s work for them.

    Therefore, you’d better make some more room in those warehouses fellows!

  2. MarkInFla says

    This would look great on a 1 oz. or 5 oz. silver bullion. But those cheap looking dollars are just going to tarnish and look ugly.

  3. vaughnster says

    I used to buy several rolls of these before the Mint jacked up the prices. Now I’m content to just get one for my album that comes in the various annual Mint sets. Yup, let’em stack’um high in the warehouses……….

  4. Falcon says

    When are they going to discontinue the paper dollars and stop warehousing all of the dollar coins? It doesn’t make sense to have production of both and to stockpile the coins. The coins last longer and don’t absorb filth like the paper bills.
    I know the branch of engraving will not agree to stop production unless forced to. They should compromise, Engraving stop producing dollar bills and the Mint stop producing pennies and find cheaper materals for the nickel. This way the goverment will save money overall.

  5. Drew says

    And sit in the warehouse they shall. I loved getting the $250 box through the direct ship program and used to use them all the time. Nothing better than the reaction they get when you hand someone a nice shiny coin from the roll. Now I will probably just pick up maybe a roll or two on the secondary market if the price is right and be happy. Seriously what is the mint thinking? Who is making these boneheaded decisions and what good reason do they have for making them (regarding the surcharge on the direct ship program). Great design by the way.

  6. Brad says

    Actually, I noticed on the actual product pages for the remaining Direct Ship options that the Mint calls the $12.50 a shipping/handling charge. They should just call it that across the board, since it has much less of a negative connotation than a “fulfillment charge.”

    What to do? I would like to have a $250 box of the 2012 Native American Dollars, both to save a roll and spend the rest. However, I don’t really want to fool with mailing a check and I also don’t want to pay the extra $12.50. However, as others have pointed out the banks don’t carry Native American Dollars. And even with the $12.50 fulfillment or s/h charge, they are still cheaper to buy than the rolls in special Mint paper.

    I just wish the Mint would go back to allowing credit cards and limiting the DS options to 2 boxes per household per design. That’s the way it was in the very beginning. 2 boxes of each design is plenty of coins for one household to try to circulate anyway. Much more than that, and it does start to reek of the abuse the Mint was trying to curb. But, because of a few individuals who ordered up to $800,000 (!?) through the program, we all have to reap the punishment.

  7. Wesley says

    Beautiful design! Just wish I had a way to get them without paying a premium. I had been getting $250 direct-ship sets of various dollar coins one at a time as I was able to spend through them…keeping a roll or two for myself. I wasn’t keen on having to send in a check to get a box of the 2011 NA coins, but I did it anyway. I don’t think I can justify spending $12.50 for any future releases…not when I can buy one or two for my set for a lot less than the $12.50 charge. I can see why they stopped accepting credit cards, but adding a fee makes it pointless, at least for its intended purpose to support getting dollar coins into circulation. I guess I’ll have to go back to getting rolls from the bank for my spending needs…

  8. J A says

    I had to go to the bank today to get some Garfields.
    I wound up getting only one roll.
    The advantage with the DS was that I would have to circulate and spend all 10 rolls not just one.

  9. Steve says

    Does the US Mint prevent credit card companies from giving cash back on purchases at the mint? I just got my Visa bill and I am short my 1% cash back which coincidentally is the same amount as my Mint purchase. If they do limit cash back on the purchases, I thought it only appied to the direct ship program. Also, how can they dictate to the credit card company what they decide to give back to their card holding members.

  10. Bossman says

    That is by far one the best looking US Mint coins I’ve seen in a while. I hope we can get a silver version of it since I won’t buy any gold coins at current prices.

  11. Sean says

    I really like this design a lot. I have also like the past Native American dollar coins. With this track record I hope that future designs will continue to impress.

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