Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chief Tatokainyanka,Engraved in History

I was visiting the Titanic exhibit with my friend Cindy Smith, when we came upon a display of currency. It is amazing to me that any artifacts are around 100 years later much less “paper” money. 

The array of bills was unbelievable. In 1912, any state chartered bank could issue paper money and Titanic carried a wide assortment.

Some of the items predated the civil war. I guess it was Yankee money, since Confederate funds were then defunct.

Cindy is a true cowgirl, and the one that caught her eye was a five dollar Silver certificate with an Indian head on the front. I was intrigued as well and decided to look it up.

These certificates were issued in 1899, to replace silver coins. I guess they were a bit lighter to carry around. The central figure is Tatokainyanka who was a Sioux Chief. Since Chief Tatokainyanka is kinda hard to say, he was called Chief Onepapa. 

Original Photo

He is famous for signing the “Treaty of Fort Laramie” in 1868. He traveled to Washington, DC to meet President Andrew Johnson where his picture was taken.

Redesigned Head Dress

The engraver for the bill drew in a Pawnee head dress instead, to better fit the space. Unfortunately, this is the only US paper money where an Indian is the focal point.  The Bills today can go for hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the condition. Of course the ones from Titanic, are priceless. 

If you have a buck, you can pick up one of the new Native American Coins from the US Mint.