US Coins

Fraser, Goodacre coins on exhibit

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla., has opened an exhibit, "Making Change," that features the stories behind groundbreaking coins designed by sculptors Laura Gardin Fraser and Glenna Goodacre.

The exhibit opened Jan. 15 and will stay open until June 30, 2014.

Fraser (1889 to 1966) won a contest in 1931 to create a quarter in honor of George Washington’s 200th birthday in 1932. This made her the first woman chosen to design a coin for national circulation.

However, despite the strong support her designs gained from the Commission of Fine Arts, the Treasury Department instead selected designs by John Flanagan, whose portrait of Washington remains in use on the quarter today.

Fraser's design was finally used in 1999 for a commemorative gold $5 coin to honor the 200th anniversary of Washington’s death. In addition, she created designs for the earlier commemorative coin program, most notably for the 1926 to 1939 Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar, in collaboration with her sculptor husband, James Earle Fraser.

Goodacre (born 1939) won a competition to design the obverse of the Sacagawea dollar, which was the first circulating U.S. coin designed by a woman. 

According to the museum, "Fraser and Goodacre are women of different generations, but they made change through their art."

Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District at the junction of Interstates 44 and 35.

For more information contact Gerrianne Schaad at or 405-507-2822. Visit the museum website at

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