Collecting history, Coin enthusiasts attend an annual I.F. show


Randy’L He-Dow Teton, model for the Sacajawea dollar and member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, signed autographs and informed coin enthusiasts about Sacajawea’s history at the 35th annual Coin and Collectibles Show.—Chris Hatch /

Randy’L He-Dow Teton doesn’t have much in common with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. She’s never served a day in the Oval Office. She’s an American Indian. And she’s alive. But one thing she does have in common with these former presidents is that her face is on U.S. currency, which she admits is a pretty great feeling. "It feels awesome," said Teton, the model for the Sacajawea dollar. The coin depicts Sacajawea, the Shoshone woman who served as an interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, and her son, Jean Baptiste.

Teton, who was born and raised in Blackfoot, is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes in eastern Idaho. She’s traveled the country promoting the Sacajawea dollar. On Saturday, she made it to the Eagle Rock Numismatic Society’s 35th annual Coin and Collectibles Show in Idaho Falls. Collectors from around the region attend the show every year to buy and sell coins, paper money and collectibles. This year was no different. George Warner of D&J Coins in Sheridan, Wyo., attended Saturday for the first time. He’s been collecting money since he was a boy, initially starting out with coins but eventually focusing on paper money. His collection of bills runs from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. "I do shows all over the country," Warner said. Shawn Fransen of S&N Coins in St. Anthony sticks to coin shows held closer to home. His brothers got him interested in coin collecting when he was 12, and now, almost four decades later, his interest hasn’t waned. Fransen said he enjoys collecting coins because he likes to think about where the coins have been. "I kind of like to pick something up and wonder about the history," he said. "Coins that intrigue me are coins with animals or Native Americans." Eagle Rock Numismatic Society President Jim Gyorfy said that’s what’s so wonderful about coin collecting. It’s a fun, challenging and educational hobby, he said, and holding money is like holding history. This is one of the things Teton loves about promoting the Sacajawea coin: teaching others about her heritage and breaking common stereotypes of American Indians and native women. "I love to educate," she said. "I love to talk about our cultural history."

Education reporter Samantha Pak can be reached at 542-6750. If you go The Eagle Rock Numismatic Society’s 35th annual Coin and Collectibles Show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Red Lion on the Falls Hotel, 475 River Parkway in Idaho Falls. The event is free and open to the public. On the internet

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Samantha Pak
Education Reporter

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