A bit of how the Buffalo Nickel came into Being.
Soon after the MacVeagh letter, Andrew announced that the United States Mint would be soliciting new designs for the nickel. Fraser, who had been an assistant to Saint-Gaudens, approached the Mint and rapidly produced concepts and designs. The new Mint director, George Roberts, who had replaced Andrew, initially favored a design featuring assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, but Fraser soon developed a design featuring a Native American on one side and a bison on the other.
Andrew and Roberts recommended Fraser to MacVeagh, and in July 1911 the Secretary approved hiring Fraser to design a new nickel. Official approval was slow in coming; it was not until January 1912 that MacVeagh asked Roberts to inform Fraser that he had been commissioned. MacVeagh wrote, “Tell him that of the three sketches which he submitted we would like to use the sketch of the head of the Indian and the sketch of the buffalo.” Roberts transmitted the news, then followed up with a long list of instructions to the sculptor, in which he noted, “The motto, ‘In God We Trust’, is not required upon this coin and I presume we are agreed that nothing should be upon it that is not required.” Fraser completed the models by June 1912, and prepared coin-size electrotypes. He brought the models and electrotypes to Washington on July 10, where they met with the enthusiastic agreement of Secretary MacVeagh.