The United States Mint issued the 2009 Louis Braille Silver Dollar (Buy on eBay) to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth. Louis Braille is the inventor of the Braille system of reading and writing for the blind and visually impaired. The silver dollar contained the first readable Braille characters to appear on a legal tender United States coin.
The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Louis Braille designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The inscriptions read “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, “Louis Braille”, and the bicentennial dates “1809” and “2009”.
The reverse features an image of a child reading a Braille book with a bookcase in the background bearing the word “Independence”. Inscriptions read “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, and “One Dollar”. The field above the image includes the word “Braille” (abbreviated “BRL”) in Braille characters. Although Braille characters have appeared on previous US coins, this is the first time the characters appear large enough to be readable by touch. The reverse was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
The United States Mint began sales of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars on March 26, 2009. Both the proof and uncirculated versions of the coin were produced at the Philadelphia Mint. Coins were sold individually, with an easy open capsule available for the uncirculated version. Later in the year, the US Mint released the Braille Education Set, which included the uncirculated version of the coin, educational material about the Braille System, and examples of readable Braille.
The maximum authorized mintage across all product options was 400,000. Coin sales ended on December 11, 2009 before the maximum level was reached. Surcharges added to the cost of each coin were paid to the National Federation for the Blind to further programs to promote Braille literacy.
Designer: Joel Iskowitz (obverse), Phebe Hemphill (reverse)
Weight: 26.7300 g
Composition: 90% Silver (0.7736 ounces of silver)
Diameter: 38.1 mm
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 400,000
2009-P Uncirculated Louis Braille Silver Dollar
Pre-Issue Price: $31.95
Regular Price: $33.95
Final Mintage: 82,639
2009-P Proof Louis Braille Silver Dollar
Regular Price: $41.95
Final Mintage: 135,235