Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Half Dollar
This month's coin celebrates an American success story: the bald eagle. The American Bald Eagle Recovery and National Emblem Commemorative Coin Act was passed by Congress to recognize the eagle, its importance as a national symbol, and its return from near extinction in the lower 48 states.
Congress passed the Act unanimously before it was signed by the President. The series commemorates the eagle's recovery as well as the 35th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which has helped in the recovery.
The Founding Fathers chose the bald eagle for the Great Seal of the United States at the Second Continental Congress in 1782. Ever since, this majestic bird has represented the spirit of freedom and democracy that makes our nation great. This eagle also appears on the seals of many branches and departments of the United States government.
The bald eagle is very important to the United States. It symbolizes American strength, freedom, and democracy. It has appeared in American art, music, history, literature, commerce, and culture.
This once-endangered species, unique to North America, is now making a gradual comeback. Classified as "endangered" in 1973 under the Endangered Species Act, the bald eagle was later moved to the less endangered "threatened" list thanks to the law and to caring people and organizations.
The bald eagle will probably be removed from the "threatened species" list in 2008, but that doesn't mean it will be "out of the woods" just yet. Wildlife agencies will need to keep an eye on the eagle for at least 5 years after it is taken off the list.
There are actually three different coins in this series: a five-dollar gold coin, a one-dollar silver coin, and a half-dollar clad coin. But all the designs feature the bald eagle and its history, biology, or status as a national symbol. You can see the other designs in this series on the Commemorative Coins page.
Let's keep America's eagles flying!