Issued as a second bicentennial coin from the United States Mint was the 2009 Louis Braille Silver Dollar Commemorative. These silver coins were available in two different finishes, but in four different U.S. Mint product options — an individual proof silver dollar, an individual uncirculated silver dollar, an individual uncirculated silver dollar in an easy-open capsule and an individual uncirculated silver as part of a special Louis Braille Education Set.
Unlike the Lincoln Silver Dollar also issued in 2009, however, interest in the Braille commemorative coins did not lead to their a sell-out despite a lower maximum mintage of 400,000 across all product options. Still, the unique fact that these silver dollars contained the first readable Braille on a United States Mint coin makes them a definite collectible.
Born on January 4, 1809, Louis Braille lost his site while still a young child due to an accident with a blunt awl. With a thirst for knowledge and learning, he was dissatisfied with the few books available for a blind person at the time. They simply featured text containing large embossed letters to enable one to feel each character.
But, by the age of 15, and with the help of a blunt awl (the same style of tool responsible for his blindness), Braille developed a new system of readable characters which used no more than six raised dots in a maximum of two columns to represent each letter. This relatively easy to produce and to read system is still in use today, adding to the quality of life for millions of visually impaired individuals.
Braille Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin Information
Stuck to commemorate the bicentennial of his birth Louis Braille Silver Dollar Commemorative coins were originally released on March 26, 2009. It was available initially at the introductory price of $37.95 for the proof coin or $31.95 for the uncirculated coin. The uncirculated silver coin shipped in either the traditional Mint packaging or in a special easy-open capsule, buyer’s choice.
On October 8, 2009, the Mint released the special Braille Education Set which also included an uncirculated silver dollar along with special packaging that had genuine Braille text. This set sold for $44.95.
The obverse of the silver dollar commemorative coin was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill to show a portrait of Louis Braille. Surrounding his image are the inscriptions LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, 1809, 2009, LOUIS BRAILLE and the P mintmark.
On the silver dollar reverse, a young boy is shown reading Braille. The word "Braille" is included in actual Braille code above the image making the first time a coin of the US Mint has contained Braille text. Also shown are the inscriptions INDEPENDENCE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and ONE DOLLAR. It was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
2009 Braille Silver Dollar Coin Specifications
|Composition:||90% silver, 10% copper|
|Total Estimated Mintage:||400,000 across all product options|
|Minting Facility:||Philadelphia (P)|
|Obverse Design:||Portrait of Louis Braille|
|Obverse Designer / Sculptor:||Joel Iskowitz / Phebe Hemphill|
|Reverse Design:||Image of boy reading|
|Reverse Designer / Sculptor:||Susan Gamble / Joseph Menna|