The United States is honoring the tercentenary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, one of this Nation’s original scientists, thinkers and founding fathers, with two commemorative silver dollars from the United States Mint.
Born January 17, 1706, Franklin pursued a variety of interests, bringing new ideas to science and journalism while serving as a leader of the American Revolution. For nearly six decades, Franklin conducted experiments and published insights that still hold true today.
In fact, most people already know that he experimented with electricity, invented bifocals and wrote Poor Richard’s Almanack, the annual best-selling pamphlet with aphorisms like, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."
But many people don’t know that Franklin: invented the flexible catheter, swimfins and the lightning rod; founded the first hospital and first volunteer firefighting company in America; and established the field of meteorology when he realized that some storms travel.
He also became the only person, at age 81, to sign all four of the major documents instrumental to the founding of the United States – the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Alliance, Amity and Commerce, in which France recognized and supported the United States.
The Benjamin Franklin Commemorative Coin Program comprises two silver dollars – "Scientist" and "Founding Father" – available in both proof and uncirculated conditions. Surcharges from the program are authorized to be paid to the Franklin Institute for purposes of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission, a non-profit alliance established by Congress to commemorate the tercentenary and to educate the public about Franklin’s legacy.
Authorized by Public Law 108-464, each coin is limited to a maximum mintage of 250,000 across all product options and may be issued only during the one-year period beginning January 1, 2006.