Nov 17, 2020 - Sale 2551

Sale 2551 - Lot 12

Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
"THE CHIEF . . . WHOSE HEAD WAS RECOMMENDED . . . FOR OUR NICKEL" TWO GUNS WHITE CALF. Photograph postcard Signed with his pictogram, bust portrait by Hileman, showing him in profile. Signed boldly in the image, lower right. The verso, inscribed with a note [by a park visitor] to a friend: "This is autographed for you by the chief himself whose head was recommended by President Roosevelt for our nickel. . . . P.S. I saw him do it." 1-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp at upper right is cancelled with a postmark faintly dated but clearly from Glacier Park. 5 1/4x3 1/4 inches; some silvering to dark areas, corners bumped. [Glacier National Park, MT, circa 1929]

Additional Details

The "Buffalo Nickel," which featured the profiles of a Native American head on one side and a buffalo on the other, was in circulation between 1913 and 1938. Upon the coin's release, publicists for the new hotel at Glacier National Park in Montana saw a striking similarity between the head of Two Guns White Calf and the head rendered on the nickel. The publicists claimed that Two Guns White Calf had been a model for the coin and employed him as a Park attraction, but there arose some controversy about whose portrait appeared on the nickel. The coin's designer, James Earle Fraser, could not recall all the models used for the design, so the publicists could not be contradicted in their claim.