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Coin Encyclopedia

American Buffalo Commemorative Coin

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On September 28, 1999 thousands of Americans, including many American Indians, came from all over the Nation to Washington, DC, to witness the ground breaking ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, which is schedule to open in the year 2004.

Soon a New Landmark

Veiled by fences that surround the only remaining major building site on the great National Mall, facing the Capitol and adjacent to the Air & Space Museum, determined bulldozers shape the land to prepare it for one last magnificent landmark-The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

Ten years in planning and development, this 260,000-square-foot building will be the crown jewel in a Museum that already includes a fine permanent exhibition facility in New York City and a state-of-the-art collections research and study center in Suitland, Maryland. In 2004, when this national architectural treasure opens its doors, it will at last be able to share with millions of visitors a collection of 800,000 Native objects spanning 10,000 years, unquestionably the greatest such collection ever assembled.

Perhaps most significantly, this final Mall edifice-set as it is in the very heart of the nation's capitol-represents a kind of cultural justice. It signals a profound and long-overdue reconciliation between those whose ancestors came to these shores and those who were already here. Since Indian people have predominantly planned this new Museum, it will enable the world to explore the past, present, and future through the eyes of Native people.

About the Coins

This coin is being issued by the Secretary of the Treasury in commemoration of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The design of this silver dollar is based on the original 5-cent Buffalo nickel as designed by James Earle Fraser and minted from 1913 through 1938.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each coin is authorized to support the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian for the purposes of commemorating the National Museum of the American Indian; and supplementing the endowment and educational outreach funds of the Museum of the American Indian.

Coin Information Provided Courtesy The United States Mint.


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