For years members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee have pressed the U.S. Mint with two overarching design requests: more symbolism and more modern designs.
At its Oct. 7 meeting in Washington, the panel seems to have found designs for the next two Native American dollars that fit both goals.
Approved designs will be paired with sculptor Glenna Goodacre’s Sacagawea dollar obverse introduced in 2000 and retained for the Native American dollar series beginning in 2009.
For 2017, the panel endorses a design for the reverse of the Native American dollar that honors Sequoyah, the man who created the written language for the Cherokee Nation.
For 2018, the committee overwhelmingly backed a reverse design honoring legendary Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe of Oklahoma.
What made the panel’s recommendations significant is that the committee members said that both designs embody elements of symbolism and modern design.
The Sequoyah design picked from 13 proposals features an off-center circle within the overall design. It shows a turbaned Sequoyah producing the new “Cherokee Syllabary” with a long quill pen as well as the inventor’s name in his newly created lettering.
The recommended Thorpe design shows the athlete in his football uniform against a silhouette of Chief Black Hawk, one of his ancestors.
“This one really pops,” said former CCAC chair Gary Marks, city manager of Lebanon, Ore., commenting about the Thorpe design.
“It is a bingo design … powerful … symbolic,” agreed CCAC member Erik Jansen of Mercer Island, Wash.