WASHINGTON — United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore joined Justice Stephen Breyer and Supreme Court Historical Society President Peter C. Jones today in the Upper Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States in celebration of the launch of the Chief Justice John Marshall Silver Dollar. The new silver dollar commemorates the 250th anniversary of the Chief Justice’s birth on September 24, 1755, and pays tribute to his service to the Supreme Court and to our Nation. It is the first coin produced by the United States Mint honoring a Supreme Court Justice. Surcharges from the sale of each coin will be paid to the Supreme Court Historical Society to support historical research, educational programs and the collection and preservation of antiques, artifacts and other historical items related to the Supreme Court and the Constitution of the United States.
Following the ceremony, Director Fore signed Certificates of Authenticity for the commemorative coins that are on sale at the Supreme Court gift shop.
“This historic commemorative silver dollar will raise public awareness of the life and work of John Marshall, an outstanding citizen, soldier, legislator, Secretary of State and Supreme Court Chief Justice in the crucial formative years of the American republic,” United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore told the assembled guests. “And the reverse of the coin draws us into the Chief Justice’s world in the Old Supreme Court Chamber.”
Justice Breyer told the crowd, “Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, ‘If American law were to be represented by a single figure, skeptic and worshipper alike would agree without dispute that the figure could be one alone, and that one would be John Marshall.’ This commemorative coin will, I hope, provide an opportunity to educate all Americans about ‘the Great Chief Justice.'”
In his testimony before Congress Chief Justice William Rehnquist said: “While people all over the country are familiar with the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, significantly fewer know about the remarkable contributions of the Chief Justice. A commemorative coin could provide an opportunity to educate all Americans about the man known as the ‘the Great Chief Justice.'” John Marshall was born in a log cabin on the rural Virginia frontier, the eldest of 15 children. He was an officer in the Continental Army under General George Washington and endured the brutal winter of 1777–78 at Valley Forge. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates for ten years in the 1780s and 1790s and spoke out in favor of a strong judiciary when the House of Delegates debated the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. He was appointed Secretary of State by President John Adams in 1800 and one year later accepted the appointment of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
His 34–year tenure as Chief Justice remains the longest in the more than 200–year history of the high court. He participated in more than 1,000 decisions and authored more than 500 opinions, including landmark decisions such as Marbury vs. Madison, 1803 and McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819. In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice Marshall established the principle of Judicial Review, whereby the Supreme Court assumed authority to declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional if they exceeded the powers granted in the Constitution. The decision of McCulloch v. Maryland ruled that a federally chartered bank could not be taxed by a state and expanded the authority of the Federal government loosely defined by the “just and proper” clause of Article I of the Constitution.
During his tenure as Chief Justice, John Marshall authored a five–volume biography of George Washington, begun in 1800 at the request of Washington’s nephew Bushrod, who served with the Chief Justice in the both the Virginia House of Delegates and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Designed by United States Mint sculptor/engraver John Mercanti, the obverse of the Chief Justice John Marshall Silver Dollar features a rendition of a portrait of John Marshall originally executed by French painter Charles–Balthazar–Julien Fevret de Saint–Memin in March of 1808. The reverse, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver Donna Weaver features a view of the Old Supreme Court Chamber, located inside the Capitol, on the side which houses the United States Senate. Construction on the original chamber, designed and built by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, began in November 1806. The court session that began in February 1819, with John Marshall presiding, was the first to be held in the chamber.
Public Law 108–290 authorizes a maximum mintage of 400,000 Chief Justice John Marshall Silver Dollars. Both the proof and uncirculated versions of the coin will be minted at the United States Mint at Philadelphia and carry the P mint mark.
The Chief Justice John Marshall Silver Dollar is initially available as a proof silver dollar and as an uncirculated silver dollar coin. The full program offer, coming this summer, will also include the Chief Justice John Marshall Coin &Chronicles Set that will feature a striking intaglio print of the Chief Justice executed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing as well as in informative booklet prepared by the Supreme Court Historical Society. The coin will also be part of a special set, reminiscent of the Prestige Set previously offered by the United States Mint, with the Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar, when that coin becomes available.
During the pre–issue period which extends until May 25, the proof silver dollar will be available for $35 and the uncirculated silver dollar for $33. After May 25, the proof silver dollar will be available for $39 and the uncirculated silver dollar for $35.
Customers can purchase the Chief Justice John Marshall Silver Dollar by using the United States Mint’s secure website, www.usmint.gov, or by calling 1–800–USA–MINT (872–6468). Hearing– and speech–impaired customers with TTY equipment may order by calling 1–888–321–MINT (6468). A shipping and handling fee of $4.95 per order will be added to all domestic orders.
Images of the John Marshall Silver Coin may be found at.