Thomas Alva Edison Commemorative Coin

Commemorative Coin Programs

Background

“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. Law 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 Thomas Alva Edison coins were available from February 11 through December 30, 2004.

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Recipient Organization: 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

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.

Commemorative Coin Surcharges

Commemorative coin programs are created by acts of Congress to honor a person, place, or event. Surcharges from the sales of these coins help fund a variety of organizations and projects that benefit the public. Commemorative coins are only available from the United States Mint for a limited time, as specified by public law.

Coin Characteristics

The obverse of the coin features a portrait of the great inventor holding an early experimental light bulb in his laboratory.

The reverse design features a rendering of Edison's first light bulb.

Obverse Inscriptions

• LIBERTY
• IN GOD WE TRUST
• THOMAS ALVA EDISON
• 2004

Reverse Inscriptions

• 125th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIGHT BULB
• 1879
• 2004
• UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
• ONE DOLLAR
• E PLURIBUS UNUM

Mint and Mint Mark

Specifications

The composition of the silver one-dollar coins is 90% silver and 10% copper.

Artist Information

Obverse Reverse
  • John Mercanti

Related Information

Content last reviewed June 1, 2016

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