United States Mint Helps Commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Invention of the Light Bulb

October 15, 2004

PORT HURON, MICHIGAN — United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore is joining in weekend commemorations of the 125th anniversary of Thomas Alva Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb. Director Fore is attending celebrations in Huron, Ohio, near the birthplace of Edison and Port Huron, Michigan, Edison’s boyhood home. The public will be able to purchase the United States Mint Thomas Alva Edison Commemorative Coin at the events, as well as the Thomas Alva Edison Collector’s Set, featuring an uncirculated commemorative coin in a special presentation case, which illuminates when opened. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these coins is authorized to be paid to eight organizations to expand their educational programs.

“Thomas Edison lived a life of practical discovery,” said Director Fore. “It is difficult to contemplate what modern life would be without Edison’s inventions of the incandescent light bulb, the typewriter, the phonograph and the first motion picture camera. This coin commemorates not only Edison’s perfecting the light bulb, but all of his achievements. He still holds the record for patents: 1,093 inventions.”

On Saturday evening, Director Fore is joining United States Representative Paul E. Gillmor (R–OH), the sponsor of legislation authorizing the Thomas Alva Edison Commemorative Coin, and actor Mickey Rooney, the keynote speaker at a gala dinner to celebrate innovation. The event is hosted by the Edison Birthplace Museum at Bowling Green State University’s Firelands Campus in Huron, Ohio.

On Sunday, Director Fore is participating in a news conference at the Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron, Michigan, to discuss Edison’s legacy. United States Senator Carl Levin (D–MI), United States Representative Candice Miller (R–MI), Michigan State Senator Jud Gilbert, State Representatives Lauren Hager and Steve Bieda and descendants of Edison will also take part.

Later on Sunday, Director Fore is rededicating a 62–ton granite boulder in Pine Grove Park that was placed there in 1929 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Edison’s invention of the light bulb. The boulder in Pine Grove Park marks the site where Edison lived for nine years as a youth.

Actor Mickey Rooney will join Director Fore, Congresswoman Miller, State Senator Gilbert, State Representatives Hager and Bieda, and area radio personality Lee Hanson in the program at the Port Huron Museum. Rooney, who starred as the inventor in the movie “Young Thomas Edison,” last visited Port Huron in 1940 for the movie’s debut.

As authorized by Public Law 105–331, the United States Mint will produce a maximum mintage of 500,000 Thomas Alva Edison silver dollar coins in proof and uncirculated condition to commemorate Edison’s invention of the incandescent light bulb and his many other contributions. Equal portions of the surcharge proceeds from the sale of these coins are authorized to be paid to the Museum of Arts and History (Port Huron, Michigan), the Edison Birthplace Association (Milan, Ohio), the National Park Service (West Orange, New Jersey), the Edison Plaza Museum (Beaumont, Texas), the Edison Winter Home and Museum (Fort Myers, Florida), the Edison Institute (Dearborn, Michigan), the Edison Memorial Tower (Edison, New Jersey), and the Hall of Electrical History (Schenectady, New York). The surcharge proceeds are to be used for the expansion of educational programs, construction of a museum, and preservation of materials.

The obverse (heads side) of the silver dollar, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver Donna Weaver, features a portrait of the great inventor in his laboratory, holding an early experimental light bulb. The reverse (tails side) design, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver John Mercanti, features a rendering of Edison’s 1879 light bulb, with rays emanating from it. The inscription “125th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIGHT BULB” is above the image and the inscriptions “1879–2004,” “United States of America,” “One Dollar,” and “E Pluribus Unum” are below the image. The composition of the coin is 90% silver and 10% copper.

The Thomas Alva Edison Commemorative Coin may be purchased through the United States Mint’s secure website at www.usmint.gov, or by calling toll–free 1–800–USA–MINT (800–872–6468) 8:00 a.m. to midnight (Eastern Time), seven days a week. The proof coin sells for $37; the uncirculated coin for $33, and the Thomas Alva Edison Collector’s Set is $49. The price of each includes a $10 surcharge, and both the proof and uncirculated coins will bear the mint mark of the United States Mint at Philadelphia.

Hearing– and speech–impaired customers may order by calling 1–888–321–MINT (6468) 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Mail orders may be sent to United States Mint, P.O. Box 382618, Pittsburgh, PA 15250–8618 (Attention: Order Processing). A shipping and handling fee of $4.95 will be added to each order.


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