Way back in 1800, the 106 members of the 6th Congress of the United States of America met for the first time in the new U.S. Capitol. Since that first meeting, a lot of people have ventured through the U.S. Capitol. Today, the Capitol receives nearly 5 million visitors a year!
To commemorate that historic meeting in one of the most important buildings in our nation's history, Congress has passed a law instructing the United States Mint to mint three commemorative coins! You can get a cool clad half-dollar coin, a shiny silver dollar coin, and a glittering gold five-dollar coin. Some of the money made from selling these coins will help to pay for a new Capitol Visitors Center. The construction of the new Capitol Visitors Center represents the last possibility to extend the Capitol within its historic framework—and it will be underground. Visitors will have a great new center in which they can learn more about our nation's capitol building.
As a boy, the artist James Earle Fraser grew up on a Western prairie. So it was no surprise that he chose a buffalo and a Native American to feature in his design for a new American nickel.
Minted from 1913 to 1938, Fraser's buffalo nickel was one of the most popular—and uniquely American—coins the United States Mint ever produced. Celebrating the spirit of the Old West, it featured the profile of a Native American with two feathers in his braided hair on its obverse. On its reverse stood a mighty buffalo. Mouse over the coin image to see the other side.
Because this coin has earned a special place in the hearts of so many Americans, Congress decided to recreate it as an American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar. This coin commemorates the opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.
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