The U.S. Mint has issued a new $1 coin featuring the image of Native American Olympic hero Jim Thorpe. He was a member of the Sac and Fox (Meswaki) Nation tribes that were the original dwellers of what today is Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

Thorpe was the first Native American to win Olympic gold. He triumphed in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon at games conducted in Sweden that year. Thorpe went on to play professional football.

Thorpe was later stripped on his Olympic medals on a technicality. It was determined that he had played two years as a paid professional athlete before the 1912 events. Back then only amateurs qualified as Olympic competitors. However, his medals were officially restored in 1983 by the International Olympic Committee.

In the small Pennsylvania town of Jim Thorpe, the Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank saw a sudden influx of customers stream in to purchase the new Jim Thorpe coin after it’s release on Feb. 15. The small city was formerly known as Mauch Chunk before being renamed in honor of the great American and Native athlete.

The new $1 Jim Thorpe coin joins other dollar coins honoring Native Americans. The Sacagawea coin was issued in 2000, and a coin honoring the Navajo “Code Talkers” of World War II was issued in 2016. A coin celebrating the Kahnawake Mohawk and Akwesasne Mohawk Iron Workers was released by the U.S. Mint in 2015.

The Native American themed coins have proved extremely popular with collectors.

Categories: Jim Thorpe, Native American, Native American Olympic

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