Lonewolf, Joseph & Grace Medicine Flower – Silver Medallion Coin (1976)
This medal is a unique piece of history from the 1970’s. It was made by the White Mesa Mint in New Mexico. The coin was minted for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in 1976. It was designed by both Grace Medicine Flower and Joseph Lonewolf. The obverse features an eagle and pueblo cloud designs along with the words “Indian Pueblo Cultural Center” and “1976”. Near the bottom is a medallion in which there is a wedding vase with a bear paw and a jar with a carved avanyu. On the reverse there is the feathered avanyu, which is a style used by Grace and Joseph on their pottery. In the center, there is also an eagle bust and surround designs around the rim. It is plastic case to keep it in mint condition and the surrounding blue casing can be folded to make a stand. The coin is to contain “no less than 500 grains of sterling silver”, which is about one ounce. Definitely a fascinating piece of history. In the photos, the last images are of Grace Medicine Flower carving into the wax model for the coin and a close up of the wax before the coin was made!
“This commemorative coin captures both the spirit and essence of Indian Pueblo life. Co-designed by famed pueblo artists, brother and sister, Joseph Lonewolf and Grace Medicine Flower, the specially commissioned coin symbolizes the wimple and virtuous community underpinnings for which this people are widely known.
The commemorative side, reading “Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – 1976” and designated by Grace as “A Stairway to Progress”, attests to the magnificence of Pueblo arts and crafts. Joseph Lonewolf’s interpretation on the obverse side comprehends the universe itself in metaphoric storytelling. At the center of the universe depicted by the outside circle and having no beginning and or end, is a fledgling eagle – symbol of Indian Youth – and the earth where the youth is born. Paralleling the eagle’s head is the serpent of the Rio Grande. The arrow-shaped “Breath of Life” emitting from the serpent’s mouth infuses the sphere with energy and represents life everlasting. Radiating from the fledgling are feathers depicting the traditional pueblo ways of life. The fledgling eagle clutches several feathers, to which he will cling forever as his grip is strong. Feathers emanating from the earth are the Pueblo paths of life – one of which the eagle must choose. The feather in the coin’s lower portion suggests a graduation in rank or promotion in the Indian vernacular. The scene is further energized by a dual bolt of lightning which, although not entirely translatable into English, alludes to the individual’s self-respect and dignity. If the electrical force of the bolt is should ever dissipate, the eagle would lose his cherished traditions. But if it remains intact in his universe, as a part of the nucleus of life, the eagle will not suffer the loss of his sacred Indian heritage.”