Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee Looks Ahead to New Dollar Coins

Astronaut John B. Herrington (Chickasaw) and Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, STS-113 mission specialists, work on the newly installed Port One (P1) truss on the International Space Station in November 2002. The 2019 Native American $1 coin will honor the involvement of Native Americans in the space program. (NASA photo)

Astronaut John B. Herrington (Chickasaw; at center) and Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, STS-113 mission specialists, work on the newly installed Port One (P1) truss on the International Space Station in November 2002. The 2019 Native American $1 coin will honor the involvement of Native Americans in the space program. (NASA photo)

Dennis Tucker serves the hobby community as publisher at Whitman Publishing, the nation’s largest publisher of numismatic references. He holds the position of numismatic specialist on the CCAC.

On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC, met telephonically, with members calling in from both coasts and points in between. U.S. Mint staff and officers coordinated the meeting from the agency’s impressive headquarters on 9th Street in Washington, D.C.

The CCAC was established by Congress in 2003 to advise the secretary of the Treasury on the themes and designs of U.S. coins and medals. Our mission and purpose is to serve as an informed, experienced, and impartial resource for the Treasury secretary and to represent the interests of American citizens and collectors. Our meetings are open to the public and the media.

Circulating coins (such as America the Beautiful quarters), bullion coinage (silver, gold, and platinum), commemoratives, Congressional Gold Medals, national medals, and the like all fall under our congressionally mandated review.

The January 17 meeting introduced the general themes for the 2019 and 2020 Native American dollars, part of an ongoing coinage series that started in 2009. Past years’ themes include subjects ranging from the Three Sisters to Mohawk Ironworkers and the famous military Code Talkers.

The themes for 2019 and 2020 were developed by the National Museum of the American Indian, and were vetted and endorsed by the Mint’s legislated liaisons at the National Congress of American Indians, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and the Congressional Native American Caucus of the House of Representatives. The CCAC’s goal was to give input on what the Mint’s artists should consider as they begin designing the 2019 and 2020 coins. We were joined by Dr. James R. Adams, senior historian of the National Museum of the American Indian, whose research interests include tribal sovereignty in U.S. constitutional law, North American tribal horse culture, and diverse other subjects.

The 2019 Dollar and America’s Space Program

The 2019 dollar will honor the involvement of Native Americans in the United States space program. The Mint noted that “American Indians have been on the modern frontier of space flight since the beginning of NASA.”

Several notable American Indians were discussed in connection with the U.S. space program. John Bennett Herrington (Chickasaw) served on the International Space Station in 2002, making three space walks. Jerry Chris Elliott (Cherokee, Osage) started working for NASA’s Mission Control in 1966. Both men are still active in the aerospace field. U.S. coins, of course, rarely depict living people.

John Bennett Harrington. (NASA photo)

John Bennett Harrington (Chickasaw. (NASA photo)

Jerry Chris Elliott. (NASA photo)

Jerry Chris Elliott (Cherokee, Osage). (NASA photo)

Another space scientist, Mary Golda Ross (Cherokee, 1908–2008), considered the first female American Indian engineer, helped develop the spacecraft for the Gemini and Apollo programs. She was the individual we gravitated toward as a potential subject, if a portrait ends up being used in the design. Adding to Ross’s already considerable significance, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon (the Mint will be issuing a separate commemorative coin series on that topic).

Mary Golda Ross.

Mary Golda Ross (Cherokee). (Photo courtesy Cherokee Almanac)

Two things I noted in our discussion:

  • Ross didn’t just do her job and quietly retire. Yes, she designed rocket missiles and satellites, but she also actively recruited young women and Native Americans into engineering careers. There might be a way to capture that spirit of mentoring and role-modeling—the “people” side of space exploration—in the coin’s design.
  • Ross was trained and educated as a mathematician, a field she held dear and often spoke about. Incorporating mathematical elements into the design would symbolize that cornerstone of her engineering career.

I liked CCAC member Herman Viola’s observation that Native Americans are “always looking to the sky,” an idea that might translate well into the coin’s design. Robert Hoge suggested the use of an arrow, symbolic of flight (noting that many of the Native tribes involved in the Code Talkers medal program used such a design element), as well as “something celestial.” Dr. Adams noted that, in addition to arrows, star imagery is important in many Native cultures. Committee Chair Mary Lannin proposed a design element incorporating mathematical symbols shaped into an arrow. Tom Uram wondered if the Mint will tie the 2019 dollar coin to that year’s Apollo 11 commemoratives, to give a publicity boost to both coinage programs. Erik Jansen cautioned against connecting the 2019 coin’s design too closely to NASA rather than to the broader theme of Native Americans and space flight. Michael Moran pointed out the dual significance of Mary Ross’s being not only an American Indian but also a woman, in a field traditionally dominated by men; he also noted that her grandfather was John Ross, the famous principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from the 1820s to the 1860s.

The 2020 Dollar and the Movement Against Discrimination

The 2020 Native American dollar will honor Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaska’s 1945 anti-discrimination law—the first such law passed in the United States and its territories. The Mint notes that Peratrovich (Tlingit), “through her advocacy for Alaskan Natives with her husband, Roy, and an impassioned speech in the Alaskan Senate in support of the law, is widely credited with getting it passed.” Dr. Adams further observed that Alaska’s anti-discrimination law was later cited in New York State’s first such legislation, an instance of progress in a faraway U.S. territory having a ripple effect and, ultimately, great influence on the continental States.

Elizabeth Peratrovich. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Elizabeth Peratrovich (Tlingit). (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Something that stands out to me, in Peratrovich’s life and experience, is her activity in the Alaska Native Brotherhood and its sister organization, the Alaska Native Sisterhood. These groups sought to end anti-Native racism in Alaska. I find it significant that they were organized in 1912, the year after Peratrovich was born. Anti-discrimination was a cause that Alaskans were fighting for when she was a child, and the movement continued into her adulthood, involving and affecting many people. I think capturing the spirit of that movement, and the active involvement of many voices and individuals, could bring a sense of energy to the coin’s design.

For the 2020 coin, Robert Hoge suggested a design of clasped hands, illustrating a coming together of different cultures. I noted several numismatic precedents in this motif, including Indian Peace medals that were given to Native chiefs as symbols of the friendship of the American government in the early 1800s, and, more recently, one of the Westward Journey nickel designs of 2004. Several other committee members noted their approval of the clasped-hands concept, while also admitting that it might be “overdone,” having appeared fairly recently in various coins and medals. Jeanne Stevens-Sollman suggested a circle of hands, a design used to good effect in a 1973 British 50-pence coin honoring the European Economic Community. Erik Jansen wondered if the symbolism of clasped hands might be more significant to an Anglo audience than a Native American one, and suggested an eagle, raven, and wolf might speak to the inclusion and interdependence of many tribes. Michael Moran suggested the word “Equality” be used in the design. April Stafford, director of the Mint’s Office of Design Management, pointed out that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Elizabeth Peratrovich’s famous Senate testimony. CCAC chair Mary Lannin recommended that the coin’s designers read the text of Peratrovich’s inspiring and influential speech, and look for words or phrases that leap off the page and could be incorporated into the artwork.

Moving Forward Into 2019 and 2020

One challenge with all of the Native American dollar coins, of course, is their small size—they’re minted in the “golden mini dollar” format, smaller than the old-fashioned Morgan silver dollar. The Mint’s artists and sculptors will be working with the end product in mind: a coin just one inch in diameter.

Our thoughts and observations will be passed along to the Mint’s coin designers. I look forward, with the rest of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, to seeing what they develop to honor these important subjects in Native American history. In the coming months we’ll meet again to review and discuss finished sketches, and we’ll then make our final formal recommendations to the secretary of the Treasury. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to contact me at   ❑


Facebook Twitter Email


  1. Montana John says

    @the Kid….Every year the bison herd is thinned in Yellowstone..this year 1300 will be slaughtered (meat going to local Native American tribes…this doesn’t include bison who wander off the Park..they’re also killed…This is a state and federal program

  2. says

    America the Beautiful Quarters 2017 Silver Proof Set

    Denomination: Quarter
    Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
    Weight: 6.250 grams


    With the passing of the coin law in late-2015, that authorized the edge lettered ASE’s, also authorized 100% silver coins outside of the ASE to help control cost.

    What’s up with 10% copper?????

  3. says

    So that would imply that the Silver Proof set for 2017 WILL NOT BE the first set with .999 Silver coins..,

    For the U.S Mint in 2017, I’d like them to stick to one simple saying –

    Say what you mean, & do what you say.

  4. says

    CALENDAR YEAR – 2016

    Surprised TR only sold 40,000 pucks, though that works for me.

    Looks like Moultrie will be pretty low

    By summer, I’d expect the TR P Puck to start picking up a little premium, given the designs of this year.

  5. So Krates says

    Sturgeon – Yes, lot’s of comments on coins. Please scroll up the page for two comments regarding half dollars. On the first page of this thread I made five coin related comments, second page I made four coin comments, third page I made three coin comments. So that’s fourteen.

    I see you prefer to comment on comments. Please direct me to your coin related comments on this thread.

  6. So Krates says

    Was just messing with somer older Britannia proof coins. After looking for a seam to pry open on the capsule in order to get a good unobstructed view at the glass-like surface, I realized they screw open. I don’t recall ever seeing a threaded capsule except on some kilo coins and oversize stuff. I’m used to the air-tites or USM OGP stuff where after years and years of sitting they becomes near impossible to open. Hats off the the RM for utilizing a consumer friendly capsule. One side has a wider lip all around so it can be set and easily removed from the perfectly inset holes in the box. Unlike USM OGP you risk damaging the plastic (and getting a hernia) trying to pry some of those damn caps out of a box when they are in there real tight.

    It’s the little things

  7. So Krates says

    As I recall the legislation authorizes, but not requires, .999 for the proof sets. Perhaps we’ll get a Reverse Proof set in .999. Now that might get me hook, line, and sinkered!

  8. Dustyroads says

    So Krates, The wording of the legislation was “not less than 90%” if I remember correctly.

  9. Buzz Killington says

    @SK —

    All of the British Mint stuff I have from the 1980s-1990s has screw capsules, including the small silver pounds. I have not always found them to be that great, as far as staying closed for shipping. They are certainly fine, though.

    I have started to use ring air-tites, as opposed to direct fit, because you just can’t remove coins from some of the direct fit ones. Still, I haven’t wanted to remove too many things from capsules over the years.

  10. Barry says

    The mint is not helping itself by using 90 % silver if using higher grade silver costs less. Wasn’t the idea behind the law to save the mint money ?

  11. So Krates says

    @ BK – Yes, I’ve had that same issue. I have a few Morgans that seem to have permanently fused with their direct fit capsule.

  12. So Krates says

    @ one fine dime – I’m sure Rick’s comment demanding respect for the majority shareholders was tongue in cheek.

    As for .999 vs. .9, it might be cheaper because the use of .999 is widespread whereas 90% is more specialized and may require more labor or production costs despite the lower purity. Not sure though.

  13. Tom P. - MA says

    Does anyone want to bet AkBob is still here looking to see if anyone responded to his comment?

    Otherwise nothing else going on for us mid budget coin buyers. I’ll buy the Lions club only after the silver proof quarter set comes out so I can combine the shipping. No rush for the Effigy mounds bullion coins yet. I can order next week or the week after. They’ll still be there at about the same price.

    I did get an UNC 1971-D penny in circulation today which is quite unusual.

  14. So Krates says

    The author of the twice linked FS article is careful not to speculate on future pricing or when the coins will be pulled. He is clearly suggesting collectors not investors may want to purchase now before the coins become harder to locate. That is far from Macro/Rick style pumping.

  15. Sturgeon says

    Did you see the story—-“Man who allegedly stole $1.6M in gold flakes in NYC arrested in Ecuador”—-made off with an 86-pound bucket—-he reportedly is 5 foot 6 tall and weighs about 150 lbs—–Small but mighty—I wouldn’t like to have to fight this guy—

  16. Barry says

    @ofd- this is from the article which you mentioned. at coinnews “The U.S. Mint indicates that while the material cost is lower for 90/10 alloy, the efficiency, quality and manufacturing improvements gained from .999 fine silver are offsetting. There is also a larger supply base for .999 fine silver blanks since they are easier and cheaper to fabricate then custom-made .900 fine silver blanks.”

  17. hawkster says

    That 86 lb. bucket of gold flakes the guy in N.Y.C. made off with is basically the same weight as a bag of Portland cement mix. Perhaps the guy was a mason’s assistant and is used to carrying a load of this weight.
    So Krates: The majority of us knew right away that Rick’s comment was tongue-in- check and tinged with sarcasm. But, there are always those who take a comment such as his at face value.

  18. TheForce says

    Please, NO MORE DOLLAR COINS!! They do NOT work!! There are billions of these things sitting in government vaults and they wanna make more!?

  19. Mint News Blog says

    @Dustyroads — Not an end, just a series of unforeseen complications that, thankfully, are FINALLY winding up. The delay has been quite frustrating, but a new post is on the way.

  20. Dustyroads says

    Honestly, I just hope everything is okay in your world. However, meantime we natives are getting restless here in the jungle.

  21. Mint News Blog says

    @Dustyroads, your concern is much appreciated — all is well, I just had a “perfect storm” of conflicting priorities. And @GoldFan, you are right and then some. Fingers crossed that the coming week makes up for the drought!

  22. smalltimecollector says

    I can see a first man to orbit earth, senator, oft decorated, member of Keating Five being emblazoned on some offering soon.

  23. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Whoever complains we need a new post, please shut up.
    I think the Michael should take a rest.

  24. Imwithher says

    cc who really cares about spot gold prices. The mint never has sold gold at spot so really its a waste anyways. and if you cant afford $50 fluctuation you don’t need to buy over price, hyper-inflated gold .

  25. cagcrisp says

    @data dave, banks have them. They are not hard to find.

    There really has not been a lot in the press about them and as yet not many either don’t know or don’t care…

  26. cagcrisp says

    Gold PM Fix $1,192.80…

    Wednesday’s PM fix will be the main obstacle for there to NOT be a Gold price Decrease.

    It would take $1,222.35 or Over for the next 3 fixes for there to NOT be a price Decrease Unless Wednesday’s PM fix is $1,200.00 or Over…

  27. bobo says

    Why do Americans not like using dollar coins? In Europe one and two euro coins are in everyone’s pocket. In Asia and Canada and almost everywhere else, there are also equivalent coins in common use. So America is unusual in this regard. I could understand when the mint made Eisenhower dollars that were just too huge, or Susan B. Anthony dollar coins that looked too much like quarters. But why not now?

  28. cagcrisp says

    There has been comments posted on here about what will happen to secondary pricing IF/When the Mint issues the Fractional Buffs again.


    …Look No farther than what has happened on the bay since the Mere Mention of Fractional Buffs being produced.

    Not a Lot of Selling, however, a LOT of New Listings.

    Prices for the 2008 Buffs will come down IF/When the Mint produces Fractional Buffs because IF/When the Mint makes this an annual event (which I Suspect) there will be at Some point Lower Mintages than the 2008 issues…

  29. Mintman says

    Releasing fractional Buffalo gold will definitely have an impact on the prices of the 2008-w fractionals, even if they are minted in much higher quantities; if you want any fractional Buffalo gold you MUST by 2008’s…..not the case if they mint 2017’s

  30. cagcrisp says

    According to the Mint’s website, the Mint has Sold 20,000 bullion 2017 APE’s.

    That Equals the numbers Sold in July (19,000) and August (1,000) of 2016…

  31. achmed says

    This is for the administrator of Mint News Blog:
    Is it possible to remove comments that have nothing to do with coins? I use this blog as a source of information about coins. But what do I find in the last two weeks? people’s comments about other people contrary to kind manners.

  32. Government Drone says

    The most cited reason for dollar coins not circulating is that dollar notes have not been withdrawn. In other countries that have successfully introduced high-value coins (the UK, Canada, etc.) the note of the same denomination was withdrawn at the same time; people simply had no choice in the matter.
    For whatever reason, in the US the dollar bill wasn’t withdrawn when the SBA & later dollars were introduced, so we never see the coins very much at all. They do circulate, on a limited basis. In the 1980s & 1990s SBAs were most often found in some city mass transit systems where the fares were over $1. Several million were put into circulation every year during that time, from the massive stockpile made in 1979-80. So, although one rarely saw any SBA dollar in change, it was actually one of the more “successful” dollar coins in terms of entering circulation.
    Starting around 1997 the Post Office began using vending machines that took in bills up to $20, but made change entirely in coinage, dispensing large numbers of SBA dollars. Starting that year the annual demand for dollar coins jumped to something like 60 million a year. Within a couple years the remaining stockpile of SBA dollars were used up from the Federal Reserve vaults & a new issue of dollar coins had to be made. They weren’t quite yet ready with what became the Sacagawea dollar, & even had to issue new SBAs in 1999.
    Since then, dollar coins have been needed for circulation at the rate of about 50-60 million per year. But they turned out nearly a billion Sacagaweas in 2000-2001, which swamped that demand. The Post Office also switched over to a different self-serve kiosk that used credit cards (no cash of any sort), though the 50-60MM/year demand seems to have been maintained.
    After a long pause, the Presidential dollar program started in 2007, again with a large issue of coins, which got progressively smaller for each succeeding president. Demand was artificially goosed up in various ways, but eventually all the dollar coins of the 2007-2011 period washed back up into the Federal Reserve & other government vaults, & once again we ended up with a stockpile that was about 1.6 billion at its peak in 2011. The mint stopped making coins for circulation after that, & the stockpile has been going down by about 50 million a year.
    In some dollarized countries in Latin America (Ecuador, in particular) the Sacagawea dollar has seen extensive circulation. It’s reported to be a rather popular coin down there, & some believe that it had been deliberately designed for them, with the realistic portrayal of an American Indian.
    And so the US’s checkered history of the dollar coin continues…

  33. cagcrisp says

    According to the Mint’s latest numbers there were 4.7 Billion Philadelphia cents produced in 2016.

    IF the do All 2017’s Philadelphia cents with a “P” mint mark, there should be plenty to go around…

  34. Erik H says

    I asked one of my local banks if they had any 2017 cents and the teller told me that she hadn’t order cents in a while. I’ve been too busy to ask other banks or branches but maybe this week I’ll have some free time.

  35. Mint News Blog says

    @achmed, I’m in the process of doing that right now. During last week’s crunch, I didn’t read the comment thread closely — I just checked in for a minute once a day or so. I must have landed in between flurries of nasty posts, because I was actually pleased to see that everyone was staying on-topic. Today I’m reading everything back to the time of my last blog post, and I’m deleting a great many comments as I go. I apologize for letting things get so contentious, I really had no idea.

  36. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    I’ve never asked the bank for a box of coins. I may have to try. My go to roll and box dealer wants $52.00/box for the new pennies + $14 shipping. I guess that’s not too bad but for $25 fv I’ll ask the bank. They frown upon roll hunters from what I’ve heard.

    I’ve gotten some 2009 rolls lately (in those white boxes from the mint) for close to release price. They carried a high premium for a while.

    My other latest obsession is with sixpence coins. There are some beautiful designs. They go great with weddings, too. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in her shoe” is an old tradition in which the bride puts a sixpence in her left shoe for good luck. I like the British designs but the Irish coins are my favorite. The Irish Wolfhound 5p coins are beautiful. They have 1 penny and half-penny coins that feature the bird designs from the Book of Kells which is called the national treasure of Ireland.

    I love my Trump Dollars , too. They’re basically Norfed Dollars. I like the designs, too.

    I think MNB is great. Lots of diverse opinions makes for interesting discussions. It’s too bad that political rancor gets expressed in such pettiness but that can be attributed to a lot of things. It might be better to have a forum for different topics (a la and keep ot discussions to a minimum. or whatever…. I’m not bothered by any of the posts here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *