Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
Louis Braille Commemorative Dollar
This month's coin has only been out for a few months, but it's already gaining quite a history! In March of 2009, the United States Mint launched this coin into the coin marketplace. Then NASA launched it into space!
When the space shuttle Atlantis carried out its mission to fix the Hubble telescope in May, it carried two of the Louis Braille commemorative dollar coins.
The Atlantis once played host to other commemorative coins. In 2007, the shuttle carried two 2-coin sets of Jamestown coins as a tribute to the spirit of exploration that made Jamestown the first permanent English settlement in North America.
But the space voyage of the Braille coins had a special purpose: to draw attention to Louis Braille and the work of the National Federation of the Blind. The NFB hopes to make people more aware of how important it is for blind people to learn to read braille.
Fifty years ago, about half of the blind people in the United States could read braille, but now only about one tenth can. Reading braille helps blind people to hold jobs and live on their own. That's why the word "independence" appears on the back of this coin!
Some of the money from the sale of this coin will go to the NFB for their work. You can read more about Louis Braille's amazing story on the Commemorative Coins page for 2009.