BALTIMORE — As a replica 15–star, 15–stripe flag gallantly waved above the ramparts of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (NM&HS) today, the United States Mint presented the 2012 Star–Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins to the Nation during a special ceremony. The coins commemorate the bicentennial of Francis Scott Key’s writing of our national anthem on the morning after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
“The designs on these coins, whose sales will commence today, will help connect us to our national values, as they were embodied in the American flag that flew proudly atop Fort McHenry that morning, and which inspired the words of our national anthem,” said Daniel Shaver, Chief Counsel of the United States Mint.
Joining Shaver to celebrate the release of the new commemorative coins were U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Representatives C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes – co–sponsors of the legislation that created this commemorative coin program – Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Fort McHenry NM&HS Superintendent Tina Orcutt. Following the ceremony, those in attendance were among the first in the Nation to purchase the coins, which became available today at the United States Mint’s Web site, http://www.usmint.gov/catalog.
“The 2012 Star–Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins are a fitting tribute to Maryland’s vibrant people, stories and history,” said Governor O’Malley. “These coins are a great way to support the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812 and become a part of this remarkable celebration.”
Authorized by Public Law 111–232, the “Star–Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Act,” the United States Mint is minting and issuing up to 100,000 gold $5 coins and 500,000 silver $1 coins in proof and uncirculated qualities. Surcharges collected from coin sales – $35 for each gold coin and $10 for each silver coin – are authorized to be paid to the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. The commission will use these funds to support its bicentennial activities, educational outreach, and preservation and improvement of the sites and structures related to the War of 1812.
In addition to the United States Mint’s Web site, the public may order the 2012 Star–Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins by calling 1–800–USA–MINT (872–6468) or 1–888–321–MINT (6468), the bureau’s dedicated telephone line for hearing– and speech–impaired customers with TTY equipment. All domestic orders include $4.95 for shipping and handling.
The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.