US Coins

Mint prepares to meet Alaska’s request for Native American dollars

The U.S. Mint is awaiting the signature of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on a resolution from the state legislature seeking 5 million 2020 Native American dollars for circulation distribution in the 49th state before moving forward with the logistics of fulfilling such a request.

The joint resolution, HJR 9, passed Jan. 22 by both houses of the State Legislature, wasn’t forwarded to Gov. Dunleavy until Feb. 11.

The 5 million dollar coins being sought would provide nearly seven coins for each man, woman and child in the state. The reverse design of the 2020 Native American dollar honors native Alaskan civil rights activist Elizabeth Peratrovich, who championed passage of the Alaska Territory’s Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945.

The placement of dollar coins into general circulation in Alaska would break an eight-year moratorium placed Dec. 13, 2011, by then Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on circulation distribution of Presidential and Native American dollars.

Since imposition of the moratorium, any dollar coins produced with a circulation-quality finish have been produced solely for numismatic sales at premiums above face value. Any pieces found in circulation were presumably placed there after being bought at a premium and then spent as legal tender.

Mint responds

“The United States Mint is aware of the Alaska House of Representatives' passage of a joint resolution requesting the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to mint not less than 5 million 2020 $1 coins honoring Elizabeth Peratrovich under the Native American $1 Coin Act, and make them available to banks throughout the State of Alaska,” according to a statement released via email to Coin World Feb. 13 by U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White. 

“The Mint is exploring options to make 2020 $1 coins available for circulation in Alaska, and once the resolution is signed by the Governor, the Mint will share relevant details as available.”

The monetary needs of banks and financial institutions in the state of Alaska are served through the Seattle branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Logistics, production schedules and delivery costs will determine whether the 5 million Native American dollars would come from production at the Denver Mint, the Philadelphia Mint or both facilities.

Jeff Turner, deputy director of communications for Gov. Dunleavy, informed Coin World via email Feb. 13 that “HJR 9 will be signed in the next few days. When that happens we will be happy to provide you with a photo of the signing. Regarding the distribution of the coins, the resolution requests the coins be delivered to the Seattle branch of the FRB and distributed to banks in Alaska.”

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