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Image of Thomas Alva Edison in his laboratory with his signature superimposed.

"I do not regard myself as a pure scientist. I am only a professional inventor."—Thomas Alva Edison, 1908

The year 2004 marks the 125th anniversary of Thomas Alva Edison's invention of the light bulb.

By Act of Congress, and in honor of this historic event, the United States Mint produced silver commemorative coins. Equal portions of the proceeds from the sale of these coins were authorized to be paid to the Port Huron, Michigan, Museum of Arts and History; the Edison Birthplace Association; the National Park Service; the Edison Plaza Museum; the Edison Winter Home and Museum; the Edison Institute; the Edison Memorial Tower; and the Hall of Electrical History for purposes of repairing, refurbishing and maintaining the various facilities.

Public Law 105-331 states that the designs of the coins "shall be emblematic of the light bulb and the many inventions made by Thomas A. Edison throughout his prolific life." These coins were offered in both proof and uncirculated condition. The law also authorized the United States Mint to produce not more than 500,000 silver one-dollar coins.

The obverse of the coin by, United States Mint sculptor/engraver Donna Weaver, features a portrait of the great inventor holding an early experimental light bulb in his laboratory.

The reverse design, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver John Mercanti, features a rendering of Edison's first light bulb. The image is encircled above by the inscription "125th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIGHT BULB" and below by the inscription "1879 2004", "United States of America", "One Dollar" and "E Pluribus Unum".

The composition of the silver one-dollar coins is 90% silver and 10% copper. The Thomas Alva Edison coins were available from February 11 through December 30, 2004.


2004 Thomas Alva Edison Proof Commemorative Coin
Proof Obverse
(rollover for Reverse)
(not shown in actual size)
2004 Thomas Alva Edison Uncirculated Commemorative Coin
Uncirculated Obverse
(rollover for Reverse)
(not shown in actual size)

The Department of the Treasury Seal
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