U.S. Mint's Star-Spangled Banner Coins Promote National Pride

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Available only through November, coins pay tribute to the birth of the Star-Spangled Banner

Gov. Martin O’Malley presents a 2012 Star-Spangled Commemorative Coin to Michael Phelps.

In March, the U.S. Mint launched the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins to honor the 200th Anniversary of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812. Individuals who wish to remember and contribute to the bicentennial with the purchase of a commemorative coin can do so only through November. The 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins, available in both gold and silver, are available online at Starspangled200.com, or at U.S. Mint kiosks. The silver “proof” coins can also be purchased at the Baltimore Visitor Center (located in the Inner Harbor) and the Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace-- but only for a limited time.

“We offer visitors the opportunity to explore Baltimore’s Star-Spangled history by purchasing the Star-Spangled Baltimore pass,” said Tom Noonan, CEO and president of Visit Baltimore. ”Now when visitors stop into the Visitor Center to purchase their pass, they can also take home the commemorative coin as a memento of their trip.”

Designs of the commemorative coins represent the Battle of Baltimore and The Star-Spangled Banner. The obverse (heads) side of the gold coin depicts a naval battle with an American sailing ship in the foreground and a damaged, fleeing British ship in the background. On the reverse (tails) side are the words “O say can you see” in a rendition of Francis Scott Key’s handwriting, against a backdrop of the 15-star, 15-stripe 1812-era American flag. The design of the silver coin’s obverse (heads) side has Lady Liberty waving a 15-star, 15-stripe American flag with Fort McHenry in the background. On the reverse (tails) side is a modern American flag.

Proceeds from the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins sales will support bicentennial events, programs and educational initiatives across Maryland.

“These coins serve to honor our remarkable Revolutionary history in Maryland that led to the creation of the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Citizens of Maryland and across the United States should consider owning and gifting the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin to celebrate our great nation’s legacy, and share in the story of a great people that we will tell together and sing together in the years ahead.”

The Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and Star-Spangled 200 are implementing a three-year commemoration of the War of 1812. Star-Spangled Sailabration launched the activities in June; the 18-month Chesapeake Campaign will begin in April 2013; and the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner will be celebrated in September 2014 with Star-Spangled Spectacular.

“Coin sales have been steady and recently the coins have generated some excitement,” said Bill Pencek, executive director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. “Not only were they presented to Michael Phelps and Maryland Olympians by Governor O’Malley, but the coin was also featured in the coin toss at the Ravens’ season home opener.”

Baltimore-based Bosom Buddy Bags has created a stylish option to show off the coins. A special line of Star-Spangled handbags using the coins as decorative elements are available for purchase online.

About Star-Spangled 200, Inc.
Star-Spangled 200, Inc. is the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the fundraising goals of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and is charged with helping to ensure the realization of successful programs, events, and community investment during the three-year commemoration period. For more information: visit http://www.starspangled200.com.

About the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission
Established by Governor Martin O'Malley, the commission is staffed by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Division of Tourism Film and the Arts. The bicentennial period runs from June 2012 through February 2015. It commemorates Maryland's unique contributions to the defense and heritage of the nation, including the pivotal battle that led to an American victory and the birth of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” For more information: visit http://www.starspangled200.org.

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Matthew Scales
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