The Buffalo Nickel was designed by James Earle Fraser and first minted in 1913. This extremely popular and legendary coin features the profile of a Native American man on the obverse and the image of a bison on a small hill on the reverse. Fraser revealed before his death that his depiction of the man on the obverse was a composite profile based upon Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux, Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne, and possibly a third man. Although this third person was not specified by Fraser, many believe him to be Chief Big Tree of the Kiowa. The reverse design is thought to be an image of a famous bison at the time named Black Diamond, which lived at the New York Zoo.
The United States Mint produced the coin up until 1938 when it was replaced by Felix Schlag's portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and an image of the third President's home, Monticello, on the reverse. In 2006, James Earle Fraser's definitive work on the Buffalo Nickel was again used as the design for the new 24K gold American Buffalo coin. The U.S. Mint also struck a coin in 2001 featuring Fraser's famous Buffalo Nickel design to commemorate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in the Smithsonian Institution.