It was the simple message of diplomacy – the passing of a peace pipe – that caught the eye of the Commission of Fine Arts April 15 as it recommended design No. 6 for the reverse of the 2011 Native American $1 coin.
Commission members appreciated its simple design and uncluttered presentation compared to the five other design alternatives, said CFA Secretary Tom Luebke.
“They felt it very legibly conveyed the theme of Native American diplomacy,” he said.
The theme to be depicted on the reverse of the 2011 Sacagawea $1 coin is “Diplomacy: Treaties with Tribal Nations.”
“One of the first treaties for mutual alliance with settlers in what became the United States occurred between the Puritan settlers at Plymouth and the Massasoit of the Pokanoket Wampanoag in 1621,” according to the design narrative provided by the U.S. Mint. “Historians credit the alliance with the Massasoit with ensuring survival of the Plymouth colony.”
The CFA was concerned that the typography for the design on the reverse of the Sacagawea coin complement the typography on the obverse of the coin, Luebke said.
CFA members also felt the large “$1” on the reverse design was too big and almost appeared as a price tag above two hands shaking on a business deal, Luebke said.
The CFA also suggested spelling out the “one dollar” as a more dignified format, Luebke said.
The Mint notes that the authorizing legislation mandates that the denomination is to be depicted as a numeral, but Luebke said, CFA members questioned whether the legislation was meant to be that literal, contending that the denomination designation should be part of the design process.
The designs that did not gain favor with the CFA featured images of Massasoit (designs No. 1-5); John Carver, governor of the Plymouth Colony (designs No. 1-2); and Samoset, a chief from the Abanaki Tribe (design No. 2).
The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee were to review the designs April 27.