US Coins

Alaska seeks circulation release of 2020 Native American dollar

Alaska’s State Legislature has passed a resolution seeking the Treasury Department to have the U.S. Mint strike 5 million 2020 Native American dollars for release into general circulation in Alaska.

Native Alaskan anti-discrimination activist Elizabeth Peratrovich is depicted on the reverse of the coin.

Jeff Turner, a spokesman for Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, told Coin World Jan. 29 that the governor was awaiting receipt of the resolution for him to sign, before sending correspondence to the Mint and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seeking the dollar coin production for circulation distribution and asking if the initiative is possible.

No dollar coins have been officially put into circulation since December 2011, after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner issued a moratorium on dollar coin output for circulation after the striking of James Garfield Presidential dollars. All circulation-quality Presidential or Native American dollars struck after Dec. 13, 2011, were produced for numismatic sales in bags, rolls and boxes to collectors. None was designated for circulation distribution.

It wasn’t known to what degree the Federal Reserve would become involved in Alaska’s request, since the Fed is the Mint’s sole customer for circulating coinage to be distributed into commerce in the United States.

Federal Reserve spokesman Susan Stawick said Jan. 29, “Since this inquiry relates to authorization, production, and issuance of coins, the staff here says the Mint is best positioned to respond as they are the issuing authority for coin.”

Dick Hanscom of Alaska Rare Coins, speaking on behalf of the Fairbanks Coin Club, said that in January 2019, the coin club contacted the members of the Alaska State Legislature promoting the release of the Elizabeth Peratrovich dollar coin into circulation in Alaska.

Soon after, local 4-H leaders traveled to Juneau with a group of 4-H members as part of the 4H Youth in Government program. They lobbied all 60 legislators for a resolution calling for the release of the Peratrovich dollar into circulation in Alaska. 

Hanscom said they also met with Paulette Moreno, grand president of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, who has been involved with the United States Mint since the beginning of the planning for the Peratrovich dollar. 

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