The US Mint will release the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar on March 26, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This coin celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille System of reading and writing used by the blind and visually impaired.
The 90% silver coin features a portrait of Louis Braille on the obverse, which was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse of the coin features a young child reading a book in Braille. In the background is a bookcase filled with Braille books and featuring the word “Independence.” The letters “BRL” the abbreviation for the word “Braille” is included prominently in the upper field of the reverse of the coin. The reverse was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
The Louis Braille Commemorative is notable because it is the first US coin, which includes readable Braille characters. Braille characters have appeared on other US coins, however the characters were too small to be considered readable. The other coins included the 2003 Alabama State Quarter and the 1995 Paralympics Commemorative coin.
The US Mint will offer the Louis Braille coin in both uncirculated and proof versions. The introductory pricing for the coins is $37.95 and $31.95 for proof and uncirculated versions respectively. After April 27, 2009 the regular prices of $41.95 and $33.95 will be put into effect. The uncirculated version of the coin will also be offered in an “Easy-Open Capsule” for anyone wishing to read the Braille characters of the coin by touch.
The maximum authorized mintage is 400,000 coins across all options. The US Mint also states that a special set containing the coin will be available later this year with an allocated mintage limit of 25,000 coins.
This will be the second commemorative coin program launched by the US Mint during 2009. The previous program featured the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar, which is still available for sale.
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