Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
Constitution Bicentennial Commemorative Silver Dollar (1987)
Flip the Mint Seal here, with the September coin, a Constitution Bicentennial Silver Dollar ... and a tricky question too. Most people think of July 4th as our country's birthday, because that's when the Declaration of Independence was approved. But September 17th is just as important. Do you know why?
It's because September 17, 1787 is the day our Constitution was approved. And the Constitution is the document that stated how our country would be set up and run. Though the Declaration of Independence said we would rule ourselves, it was the Constitution that said how.
Once again, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, this time with James Madison as the main writer. One decision they made was that we would have a president instead of a king. That decision was easy, but the rest were not. The toughest problem was how to give small states as big a "say" as the large ones. It was finally decided that all states would have two senators in the Upper House of Congress, plus a number of representatives based on state population in the Lower House. Despite some opposition, the Constitution was approved in June 1788.
Our Constitution is so important that Congress issued two coins to celebrate its 200th anniversary: a silver dollar and a five dollar gold coin. Eleven sculptors from around the country were invited to submit designs for the silver dollar. The winning design for this coin belonged to Patricia Verani from New Hampshire.