BALTIMORE — Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios presented the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine quarter today during the kickoff of Star–Spangled Banner Defenders’ Day Weekend, the city’s oldest holiday celebrating its successful defense against British attack and the writing of “The Star–Spangled Banner” in 1814. The coin’s reverse (tails side) depicts the national site during the Defenders’ Day celebration and fireworks, which symbolize the “rocket’s red glare,” linking the fort to its historic past.
“The defense of Fort McHenry was the watershed event in the War of 1812,” Treasurer Rios said, “and this new quarter captures the significance of that victory and connects all Americans who use it to Fort McHenry and its honored place in American history.”
Joining Treasurer Rios for the coin’s presentation were U.S. Senator Ben Cardin; U.S. Representatives C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes; Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings–Blake; site Superintendent Tina Cappetta; and United States Mint Deputy Director Richard A. Peterson. Park ranger James C. Bailey served as master of ceremonies.
The event culminated in a coin exchange where members of the crowd traded their currency for newly minted quarters.
The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine quarter is the 19th coin released in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, a multi–year initiative authorized by Public Law 110–456 (America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008). The United States Mint is offering several product options featuring the quarters at its online catalog at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog. These products may also be ordered 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).
During the Battle of Baltimore, from September 13 to 14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star–shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star–Spangled Banner.” The “Star–Spangled Banner” still flies over Fort McHenry 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through WW II. It is most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, and many special activities are planned at the fort from now through 2014 to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It 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 numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. The United States Mint’s numismatic programs are self–sustaining and operate at no cost to the taxpayer.