New US dollar coin honors Native Americans' contributions to the space program

The latest addition to the US Mint's Native American $1 Coin series celebrates "American Indians in the Space Program." The heads-side of the coin still features Sacagawea. From Space.com:

The reverse features Mary Golda Ross, the first known Native American woman to become an engineer. Ross' work for Lockheed Martin helped advance the Agena rocket stage used by NASA for rendezvous and docking trials during the Gemini program in the 1960s.

The tails-side also depicts an Atlas-Agena rocket lifting off and, peering down from the top of the coin, a spacesuited astronaut. The Mint describes the latter as being "symbolic of Native American astronauts, including John Herrington (mission specialist on the 2002 space shuttle Endeavour visit to the International Space Station)..."

"The nice thing is when something like this comes out, it opens up people to something they did not know about before and people who are really curious will go and learn more about it," explained Herrington. "They might learn about Jerry Elliott [of Osage and Cherokee heritage], who worked in Mission Control during the Apollo program and was part of the team that won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the return of Apollo 13."

"Or Mary Ross, who was honored with the Ely S. Parker Award, the highest award that AISES, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, gives out for contributions to math, science and engineering in the native community," he said. "She was one of the original people at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works."

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Glow-in-the-dark 'toonie' celebrates Canada's 150th

My 12-year old collects coins. She's not a hardcore numismatist by any means but she has spent quite a bit of time collecting state quarters in one of those special coin albums. The most difficult one to get was Alaska. Luckily for her, our friend Jim recently traveled to Alaska and found two of them in his roll of laundry quarters.

Anyway, to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new two-dollar coin (which is commonly known as a "toonie") that glows in the dark. The coin uses a special luminescent ink to light up in the dark and depicts two people canoeing under the northern lights. This special "toonie" is the world’s first colored bimetallic coin in circulation and the first circulation coin to glow in the dark.

According to CBCNews, the toonie was designed by two British Columbia-based brothers, Stephen and Timothy Hsia, who won the coin's design contest late last year.

Timothy says of the design:

"We thought to ourselves, 'What would be a Canadian wonder that all Canadians from coast to coast to coast could appreciate?'"

"We came up with the idea of the northern lights because this is a light display that shines most gloriously in our skies and we wanted to create something simple [that would fit]."

Ten million of these coins will be put into circulation in total. They are also available to purchase as part of a pricey special commemorative set.

I haven't shown my kid this special coin yet but I'm guessing she'll want one just for the novelty factor. Read the rest

Beautiful, 1 oz calavera and oracle coins

Dead on Paper makes many beautiful, strange things, but I'm most taken by two of its custom coins. Read the rest