US Coins

CCAC views medal, 2026 dollar designs in meeting

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee meeting by teleconference June 18 recommended a proposed reverse design for the 2026 Native American dollar and proposals for an obverse design and a reverse design for the congressional gold medal to honor the Americans taken hostage by Iranian militants In Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979.

The panel considered nine proposed Native American dollar reverse designs, all thematic of the Oneidas aiding Gen. George Washington and Continental Army troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, during the American Revolutionary War.

The Oneidas were early supporters of the American cause and provided critical information, troops, scouts, and spies to American forces.

At Washington’s invitation, a contingent of Oneida warriors joined the Americans at Valley Forge, traveling hundreds of miles on foot carrying supplies and bushels of dried white corn, a gift organized by Oneida chief Shenandoah, to feed the starving troops.

Oral tradition credits Polly Cooper, an Oneida woman, with cooking and teaching the soldiers how to prepare the corn, which requires proper preparation to be edible. After many of her fellow Oneidas returned home, Cooper remained with the Continental Army to continue aiding them.

This theme coincides with the broader coin themes for 2026 celebrating the U.S. Semiquincentennial authorized under Public Law 116-330, the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020.

The proposed design recommended by the CCAC illustrates Cooper holding a basket of corn. As she shares the Oneidas’ gift of corn with Gen. Washington, he holds up ear of corn in his right hand.

The panel recommended moving the denomination, rendered as $1, from the top left of the design to the lower right and repositioning the inscription POLLY COOPER to the center below the top inscription.

Iran hostages

A single gold medal is to be struck by the U.S. Mint and presented by the congressional leadership to recognize the former hostages of the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979 to 1981, highlighting their resilience throughout the unprecedented ordeal and the national unity it produced, marking four decades since their 444 days in captivity, and recognizing their sacrifice to the United States.

On Jan. 20, 1981, United States diplomats, military personnel, and civilians were released after being held hostage for 444 days by militant supporters of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in a violation of international law. They were taken from the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, and the ordeal came to be known as the Iran Hostage Crisis.

The ordeal began Nov. 4, 1979, when the Iranian militants seized control of the U.S. embassy.

The CCAC considered 10 proposed obverse designs and nine proposed reverse designs for the congressional gold medal. In developing the portfolio, the United States Mint worked with primary liaison Ezra Friedlander, former hostages, and the Department of State.

The CCAC-favored proposed obverse design depicts a group of blindfolded people captured in the outlines of the number 444, the number of days of their captivity. Fifty-three stars, representing the number of hostages, surround the border along with the inscription ACT OF CONGRESS 2022. The design also features NOVEMBER, 4, 1979, the date the 53 hostages were captured, and AMERICAN EMBASSY along with TEHRAN, IRAN. The CCAC passed a motion to replace AMERICAN EMBASSY with U.S. EMBASSY.

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