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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS COMMEMORATIVE COINS FACT SHEET

Availability For Purchase
The coins were available for purchase from the U.S. Mint from April 24, 2000, through December 31, 2000.

What the Coins Commemorate
The coins were authorized to commemorate the new Millennium and the Bicentennial of the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress, founded on April 24, 1800, is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. Also the world's largest library, it houses 119 million items-- 18 million books; two million recordings; 12 million photographs; four million maps; and 53 million manuscripts. The library's rare book collection is the largest in North America and includes the oldest surviving book printed in North America - the Bay Psalm Book, printed in 1640; the world's largest book, John James Audubon's Birds of America, which is 1 meter high; and the world's smallest book, Old King Cole, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. This book is so small that its pages can be turned only with the use of a needle- and equally sharp eyes.

President Thomas Jefferson played a key role both in the U.S. Mint's history and in the Library of Congress' development. Jefferson proposed the decimal coinage system we use today and advocated founding a mint on U.S. soil. A lifelong reader, Jefferson donated his personal collection of 6,487 books to Congress for $23,950 after the British burned the new Capitol and Library in 1814. On Christmas Eve 1851, another fire destroyed two-thirds of Jefferson's collection. Although many of the volumes have been replaced, nearly 900 remain missing and the Library is engaged in a worldwide search to replace them.

Not only does the Library of Congress supply whatever research Congress needs, it serves all Americans through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, its Web site (http://www.loc.gov/), and as a monument to our nation's love of learning.

Story of the Design
These commemorative coins are called the coins of many firsts." The first commemorative coins of the new Century, they are also the first-ever gold and platinum bimetallic coins in the nation's history. For the bimetallic version, the outer ring is stamped from a sheet of gold, then a solid core of platinum is placed within the ring. The coins contain about one-half an ounce of precious metal.

The bi-metallic obverse coin features the hand of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, holding the Torch of Learning with the Jefferson building dome in the background. The reverse shows the Library's seal.

The Silver Dollar shows the Torch of Learning and an open book on the obverse and the Thomas Jefferson Building dome on the reverse.

Design Theme on Obverse
Bi-Metallic Ten Dollar: The hand of Minerva raises the torch of learning over the Jefferson Building.
Silver: The coin features an open book superimposed over the torch of learning.

Design Theme on Reverse
Bi-Metallic Ten Dollar: A laurel wreath encircles the Seal of the Library of Congress.
Silver: The coin features an architectural rendering of the dome on the Library of Congress' Jefferson building.

Artists/Designers/Sculptors/Engravers
Bi-Metallic Ten Dollar: John Mercanti, obverse; Thomas D. Rogers Sr., reverse
Silver Dollar: Thomas D. Rogers, Sr., obverse; John Mercanti, reverse

Place Minted
Bi-Metallic Ten Dollar: West Point, NY ("W" Mint Mark)
Silver Dollar: Philadelphia, PA ("P" Mint Mark)

Authorization Date
The coins were authorized on October 19, 1998, by Public Law 105-268.

Year(s) on Coins
2000

Authorized Mintage Limits
Bi-Metallic Ten Dollar: 200,000
Silver: 500,000

Group/Cause Benefited by Coin Sales
A portion of the proceeds from each coin's sale benefited the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board to help support outreach programs to make the Library's collection available to all Americans.

The Department of the Treasury Seal
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