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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

Benjamin Franklin "Scientist" Silver Dollar

Hello, everyone.  I can't wait to tell you about January's Coin of the Month.  This coin honors my hero, Benjamin Franklin!

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, so this year is the 300th anniversary of his birth.  He grew up in Boston, Massachusetts.  As a young man, Franklin learned about the newspaper business by working as an apprentice (someone being trained) at his brother's newspaper.

When Franklin was 17, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he started his own newspaper.  Everyone was soon reading his Pennsylvania Gazette.  Franklin wrote many of its articles himself.

Franklin enjoyed writing, and he also enjoyed doing scientific experiments.  In his most famous one, Franklin studied lightning and proved that it was made of electricity.  During a thunderstorm, he flew a kite with a key tied to its string.  (Don't try this very dangerous experiment yourself!)

So Franklin was both a writer and a scientist, but he's my hero for a different reason:  because he liked to invent things (just like I do).  He invented swim fins, bifocals (glasses that help people see both near and far away), a musical instrument called an "armonica" (which makes music from glass bowls), and the Franklin stove (a metal stove that gives off more heat than a fireplace).

Yes, he was a great man.  Even though he lived to a good old age, he must have kept pretty busy to be able to do so many wonderful things.  In fact, there are two coins that honor Franklin this January.  Read about the other design, called "Founding Father," on the "Commemorative Coins" page.

Peter, the Mint Eagle

Teacher Feature

Image shows the front of the "Scientist" coin, with young Franklin flying a kite.
Obverse:  The design on the front of this coin shows a young Franklin doing his kite-and-key experiment.

Image shows the back of "Scientist" coin, with Franklin's political cartoon.
Reverse:  The back shows a cartoon that Franklin drew to encourage the colonies to work together during the French and Indian War. The cartoon was also popular during the Revolutionary War and even the Civil War.



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