Welcome to National Coin Week. This year, from April 21 through April 27, the National Coin Week theme is “Black Diamond Strikes Again” to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the introduction of James Earle Fraser’s Buffalo nickel.
According to legend, Black Diamond was Fraser’s model for the reverse of the Buffalo nickel. Black Diamond was a North American bison that was living in the Central Park Zoo. He was donated to the zoo by Barnum and Bailey and lived his life there until he was auctioned in 1915 to a game and poultry dealer who was later sold as steaks for $2 a pound.When asked about the model for the coin, Fraser said it was Black Diamond and found him in the Bronx Zoo. At one time Fraser was not sure of the name of the animal but insisted his influence was at the Bronx Zoo. Black Diamond was never at the Bronx Zoo.
But like the story of who was the model for the Indian on the obverse, why should facts spoil a good story!
According to the fun folks at the American Numismatic Association, Black Diamond lives. Not only are they on the hunt to find him, but you can follow his exploits on Twitter using the handle @Diamondisalive.
Be sure to check out the the information at the ANA website. One thing you may want to read is the “The History and Romance of Hobo Nickels” [PDF] from the Money Museum.
Are you going to celebrate National Coin Week?
Total Voters: 16
National Coin Week banner courtesy of the American Numismatic Association.
Other images courtesy of Wikipedia.