Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Prototype and Coin Design Images

by Mike Unser on July 2, 2008 · 11 comments

Louis Braille commemorative silver $1 coins design images and a prototype of its readable Braille reverse were unveiled today by U.S. Mint Director Moy at the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) annual convention in Dallas, Texas. 400,000 commemorative silver coins will be issued in 2009 in both proof and uncirculated versions to honor the bicentennial birth and achievements of Louis Braille.

Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Coin Design Images

“The United States Mint is proud to present the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar coin design. It will be the first coin ever minted in the history of our country to contain readable Braille characters,” said Director Moy.

“I am looking forward to presenting the design for this unprecedented coin, and I am pleased that the United States Mint is playing a role in the cause of bringing literacy to all blind and visually impaired Americans.”     

 

The coin was authorized by Congress through Public Law 109-247 in July of 2006 through coin legislation entitled Louis Braille Bicentennial Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act. The legislation includes many of the remarkable aspects of Louis Braille’s life.

According to the Mint, in addition to readable Braille, the 2009 coin will have distinguishing features apparent to the visually impaired community, such as size, weight and reeded edges.

The NFB will receive $10 for each Bicentennial Braille coin sale.

[Editor’s update: The Braille collector proof and uncirculated silver coins were launched Thursday, March 26, 2009. For more information on Braille, the coins and prices, click Braille Silver Dollars: Prices and Images.]

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim July 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Anybody got any idea what the Braille letters are supposed to be? They don’t seem to match any of the Braille alphabets I’ve found.

Silver Dollars July 4, 2008 at 8:29 am

What a great idea and wonderful way to commemorate a man that gave so much to the blind community.

Mike for CoinNews July 9, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Jim, the letters spell out “Brl,” which is the contraction for Braille.

Mike

Jim July 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Mike –
Thanks, the first dot was throwing me off. I didn’t realize there would be something like that but then – duh – how else are they going to tell if the document’s right side up. None of the alphabets I saw showed this first dot required for orientation.
– Jim

Mr. Trent August 10, 2008 at 12:05 pm

BRL? A better design for the back would be to have braille characters at the perimeter, perpendicular to the edge, for the entire circumference. You rotate the coin under the finger tips and read it. Not sure what word would be best, but certainly not “BRL.” It’s a waste to have only 3 letters. The Braille characters is what makes this so amazing of a coin and it needs MORE. Get rid of the kid reading the book. It doesn’t look right at ALL. I’m very disappointed. The front is beautiful. I hope they haven’t stamped these out yet. I good picture for the center of the back would be a pair of hands – that read Braille.

Jim August 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

Well the coin is only so big so maybe with space on the sides only 3 characters would fit. I was expecting 2008 myself. But then again, how many people are going to take the coin (proof OR uncirculated) out of the plastic capsule and be rubbing the braille letters anyway? Probably none if that many so what difference does it make what the letters are?

JERRY August 23, 2008 at 11:10 am

IT IS SAD THAT PEOPLE ALWAYS BECOME CRITICAL BEFORE INVESTIGATING THE REASONS WHY THINGS ARE EXPLAINED HOW THEY ARE. IF YOU KNEW THE EDUCATION BEHIND BRAILLE, YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT THE LETTERS “BRL” ON THE COIN MAKES SINCE. I WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PRINTING HOUSE FOR THE BLIND AND WHENEVER YOU ARE TRANSCRIBING WORDS INTO THE BRAILLE LETTERING IN MOST CASES YOU ARE ALWAYS ABBREVIATING WORDS BECAUSE THE BRAILLE LETTERING IS ENTIRELY TOO LONG TO SPELL OUT EACH WORD. IN CASES OF USING WORDS IN SMALL SPACES, YOU CANT MAKE THE BRAILLE DOTS ANY SMALLER BECAUSE BLIND OR VISUALLY EMPAIRED PEOPLE WOULDNT BE ABLE TO READ IT.
THE LETTERING ON THE COIN ONLY EXPLAINS THAT BLIND PEOPLE ARE CUSTOM TO THIS KIND OF BRAILLE WRITING.
I DO BELIEVE THE CHILD ON THE BACK ONLY MAKES ALL THE SINCE IN THE WORLD. WE TEND TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN TO LEARN HOW TO READ BRAILLE AS THEY ARE GROWING UP!

Lila August 23, 2008 at 11:48 am

“It’s better to be thought ignorant than to open your mouth and leave no doubt”.

The dot in the front is telling you that a capital letter is to follow. “Brl” is a contraction for the word braille.

The coin is a wonderful way to honor Louis Braille who has given so many visually impaired people the opportunity to learn and further their education and be able to go out into the world and share their knowledge and support their families. Without Louis there would have been many who would have sat in their dark world with all that knowledge suppressed.

Thanks Louis Braille from all of us at the American Printing House for the Blind.

“Always be kind, for the blind can hear it and the deaf can see it!”

Lilia of Puerto Rico November 10, 2008 at 10:01 am

I can understand sighted people being intrigued by the Braille and wanting to experience more. Hopefully, the brochures/literature accompanying each purchase of the coin will have text AND Braille so that the awareness of how important reading Braille is to children starting off early to lead independent lives is increased! I love it just as it is.

Brenda April 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Anyone who is still wondering about the first dot at teh beginning of the Braille letters on the coin… It is not there to tell which way is up as Jim was trying to figure out. It is a capital letter sign. Whenever Braille is written we always use a capital “B”. This is when we are writing about the man himself or the systems of writing he developed. Because there are only so many combinations 6 dits can make, there is also a number sign that can come before the first 10 letters of the alphabet which would show that they are now numbers instead of letters. Isn’t Braille fun!

become NBA ref February 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

Thanks for highlighting it Yanik!

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