In the spring of 1607, three ships carrying 105 settlers — the Virginia Company of London — made landfall in the New World. The Virginia Company was charged with establishing an English settlement in North America, and its employees were the first permanent English settlers in what would eventually become the United States. Four hundred years later, the United States is honoring the founding of Jamestown with two commemorative coins from the United States Mint.
The continued survival at Jamestown of the crew members aboard the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery marked a major historical milestone in the exploration of North America. In the legislation authorizing this commemorative coin program, Congress says:
“The Jamestown Settlement brought people from throughout the Atlantic Basin together to form a society that drew upon the strengths and characteristics of English, European, African and Native American cultures. The economic, political, religious and social institutions that developed during the first nine decades of the existence of Jamestown continue to have profound effects on the United States, particularly in English common law and language, cross cultural relationships, manufacturing, and economic structure and status.”
The colony at Jamestown also produced one of the earliest iconic figures of colonial history. Captain John Smith was one of seven council members identified in sealed orders to govern the new colony. Smith led the settlers through the struggles of a harsh winter, the spread of disease, and the often challenging relationships with the Algonquian Indians.
The Jamestown 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program comprises two commemorative coins – a silver dollar and a $5 gold coin – available in both proof and uncirculated conditions.
The commemorative coins are limited to maximum mintages across all product options of 500,000 for the silver dollar and 100,000 for the $5 gold coin. Both coins may be issued only during the one-year period beginning January 1, 2007.