WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Mint said it will update the design of the Native American $1 coin next year, leaving the familiar portrait of Sacagawea on the obverse (heads) side while replacing the reverse with a new image of a peace pipe being passed from one hand to another.
The Native American $1 Coin Program, mandated by Congress, requires the U.S. Mint to issue $1 coins featuring designs celebrating the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the history and development of the United States. It issued the first coin in the program in 2009, which celebrates agriculture with the representation of a Native American woman planting seeds in a field on the reverse.
Next year's coin commemorates a historic event that occurred in 1621 when Puritan English settlers at Plymouth Bay forged an alliance with the Wampanoag Nation, a group of tribes that lived in what is now southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was the first formal written peace treaty between the Wampanoag and European settlers.
The reverse design includes the required inscriptions, "United States of America" and "$1" along with the additional inscription "Wampanoag Treaty 1621." It was designed by Richard Masters, an artist in the Mint's Artistic Infusion Program, and sculpted by the Mint's Joseph Menna.
The obverse (Sacagawea) design, introduced in 2000, was created by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Inscriptions on the obverse are "Liberty" and "In God We Trust."
Like the Presidential $1 coins, the Native American $1 Coins are minted in a distinctive golden color with the year, mintmark and "E Plurbius Unum" edge-lettered.
The Mint gave no date for release of the 2011 Native American $1 coin. Four new U.S. Presidential coins will also be issued in 2011. While Presidential coins have proven more popular with collectors, the law requires at least 20% of $1 coins minted each year to be of the Native American series.