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Commemorative Coins
Goldie (the Mint Fish) reading a newspaper

The coins are coming!  The coins are coming!  Yes, new coins are coming out all the time.  And did you know that the United States Mint makes some coins to collect rather than spend?

One collecting kind is called "commemorative"—coins that honor famous people, places, and events.  If you have coins to spend, those are called "circulating" coins.  But commemorative coins are not the kind you'd want to spend...although you could.

Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins

The Anthem

Dr. William Beanes was an elderly doctor who had been captured by the British when they invaded Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812.  On September 7, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and was able to have them set Dr. Beanes free—but not until after they finished bombarding Fort McHenry, Baltimore's main defense.

The attack had gone on for 25 hours by the morning of September 14, 1814.  When Key peered through the clearing smoke at the fort, he saw a 42-by-30-foot American flag flying proudly over it.

He was so inspired by the sight of the enormous flag that he wrote a poem about it, which he named "The Defence of Fort McHenry."  Within a month, the words had been published in papers all along the eastern seaboard, with Key's note that they should be sung to the tune of a popular British melody, "To Anacreon in Heaven."

After 100 years, the anthem was still popular and was the national anthem of the United States.  In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that the anthem be played at military and naval ceremonies.  In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a resolution that officially designated "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the United States.

The Coins

The Star-Spangled Banner coins commemorate the 200th anniversary (bicentennial) of the writing of our national anthem.  Their designs symbolize the War of 1812, particularly the Battle of Baltimore, the basis for the anthem's lyrics.  The theme on the front (obverse) of the gold $5 coin is "The Battles at Sea During the War of 1812."  It depicts a naval battle from the War of 1812, with an American sailing ship in the foreground and a damaged and fleeing British ship in the background.

The theme on the reverse (tails) is "The Star-Spangled Banner" (the song).  It features the first words of the anthem, "O say can you see," in Francis Scott Key's handwriting, over a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, as on the flag at the time the words were written.

In the design on the front of the silver dollar, Lady Liberty waves the 15-star/15-stripe flag in front of Fort McHenry.  The theme of the design is "The Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry."

On the back, the theme is "The Star-Spangled Banner" (the flag).  This side of the coin is filled with a close-up view of a waving modern American flag.

Now that you know the story behind the Star-Spangled Banner, download the Star-Spangled Word Jumble and see if you can solve the puzzle on the first page!

Image shows the Star-Spangled Banner commemorative gold $5 coin.
Image shows the Star-Spangled Banner commemorative silver dollar.

2012 Infantry Soldier Silver Dollar

The Infantry

On June 14, 1775, 10 companies of light infantry (soldiers who fight on foot) were formed.  The Infantry played and continues to play the major role in gaining and protecting freedom for us and our allies.  That first infantry has developed into the current U.S. Armed Forces.

The Infantry has seven values, which are the same as the U.S. Army's seven values: honor, integrity, duty, selfless service, personal courage, loyalty, and respect.  Although the infantry is only one branch of the Army, its members have earned more than half of all the Medals of Honor awarded and have suffered three-quarters of the casualties.

Fifteen U.S. Presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D.Eisenhower, served in the Infantry and saw combat action.  Infantrymen fight in all kinds of weather, among all cultures, and over every kind of terrain.

Coin Designs

The coin's designs symbolize the Infantry's courage, pride, sacrifice, history, and sense of duty.  The silver dollar's obverse features a modern Infantry soldier on rocky ground charging forward and beckoning troops to follow.  This image captures the essence of the Infantry's motto, "Follow Me."

Featured on the reverse is the crossed rifles insignia, the branch insignia of the Infantry.  Since all members of the Infantry wear this insignia, it is known everywhere.

Image shows the Infantry Soldier silver dollar.

More Commemoratives at Coin News

Our collection of commemorative coins is small but growing with each year's new releases.  Pick any year to start enjoying this cool collection!

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