The United States Mint has announced designs for silver dollar and gold ten-dollar coins to be minted in 2012 commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore/Siege of Ft. McHenry in 1814.
The obverse of the silver dollar coin will feature “Liberty” waving the Star-Spangled Banner, the large flag of fifteen stars and stripes that remained flying over Ft. McHenry despite the bombardment by the British. Key was inspired by the incident he observed aboard a British ship to pen the poem that was set to music and became the national anthem. In the background of the coin is an image of the fort. The visually-striking reverse is filled with the waving flag, over which the legends are inscribed – an unusual design, in that it has no field, only the device.
The allegorical figure of Liberty, inspired by the Roman goddess “Libertas,” appeared on the obverse of all early American coins, as she did on many Roman coins. She last appeared on circulating U.S. coins in 1947 on the Liberty Walking Half Dollars (1916-1947), but classic images of her have been minted again on various bullion and commemorative coins since 1986. Not including images of the Statue of Liberty, which are currently on Presidential Dollar coins, the last new design bearing an image of Liberty to appear on a commemorative coin was in 1996, on the National Service Dollar, which was a design based upon the work of Augustus St. Gaudens for a private medal over a century ago. Thus, the significance of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Dollar is that it bears the first new design of Liberty to appear on any U.S. coin in 16 years and the first totally original design specifically designed and engraved for an American coin since the Lynchburg, Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemorative Half Dollar in 1936. See also my post from April of 2009, Commentary on Current U.S. Coins, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2009/04/commentary-on-current-us-coins.html, in which I explain the Founding Fathers’ preference for images of Liberty, as opposed to portraits of leaders.
The gold ten-dollar coin features a scene of a naval battle during the War of 1812 on its obverse. On its reverse are the fifteen stripes suggesting the waving Star-Spangled banner and fifteen stars; over it is inscribed the words “O say can you see” in Key’s handwriting.
You may view the designs and specifications of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins at the following link: http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/commemoratives/?action=2012StarSpangled.
Time to Let Fair Funding Work
2 days ago