The 2000 Leif Ericson Commemorative Silver Dollars were struck by the US Mint to mark the millennium of the discovery of the new world by Ericson. These coins were issued by the Mint on June 21, 2000 and were released in association with strikes from the Republic of Iceland also honoring Ericson.
“This jointly-issued coin set magnificently symbolizes a shared history and friendship with the Republic of Iceland that dates back through the last millennium,” said U.S. Mint Director Jay W. Johnson. “What a beautiful way to celebrate the 1000 years since the discovery of the New World by Leif Ericson, by issuing a first of its kind U.S./Foreign Commemorative Coin Set."
Congress authorized the coins with the Leif Ericson Millennium Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 106-126). Both the proof and the uncirculated silver dollar were struck at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia.
Shown on the obverse of the coin is a portrait of Leif Ericson as completed by US Mint engraver/sculptor John Mercanti. Surrounding the portrait are the inscriptions of LEIF ERICSON, IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY and 2000.
The reverse of the coin shows a Viking ship under full sail – typical of what Ericson would have used to make his discovery. Surrounding the ship are the inscriptions of FOUNDER OF THE NEW WORLD, ONE DOLLAR, E PLURIBUS UNUM and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It was designed by US Mint engraver/sculptor James Ferrell.
The Icelandic version of the silver dollar was also struck at the Philadelphia Mint and shows an image of Stirling Calder’s sculpture of Leif Ericson. The reverse depicts an eagle, a dragon, a bull and the giant from the Icelandic Coat of Arms. Both were designed by Throstur Magnusson.
Surcharges collected on the sale of the US Mint silver dollars was forwarded to the Leifur Eiríksson Foundation for the purpose of funding student exchanges between students in the United States and the Republic of Iceland.