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Anthem Program Gets Going
By Scott Barman, Numismatic News
March 08, 2012

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Eighty-one years after President Herbert Hoover signed he law that made “The Star-Spangled Banner” the United States’ official National Anthem, the U.S. Mint and Maryland dignitaries came to Fort McHenry on March 5 to launch the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Program.

The commemorative coins are designed to honor the role of the fort in the Battle of Baltimore and the poem Francis Scott Key composed after seeing the 15-star and 15-stripe flag still flying after an evening of bombardment by the British Royal Navy.

Waiting in line to purchase the silver proof coin following the ceremony was Melissa, a paramedic from Orlando, who was in Baltimore for training. She was with her family visiting Fort McHenry not knowing about the launch ceremony.

 “I thought it was very professional,” she said of the ceremony. “It was awesome. It was moving, very moving.”

Richard Hughes came to the ceremony from Annapolis, the state capital, for the launch and to purchase a coin.

“I like it.,” Hughes said of the coin.  “It’s provocative. I think they did a good job.”

Several people standing nearby in the line agreed.

Also attending was Shaun Butcher who came from Frederick, Md., “to be one of the first to buy [the coin] when it was released,” noting Frederick was Francis Scott Key’s hometown.

“I think the design is unique in terms of highlighting the War of 1812 and the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’” Butcher said. “We should be proud a Marylander wrote the National Anthem.”

Butcher is a member of the Frederick Arts Council and is an elected board member of the Frederick Tourism Council. He boasted how Frederick is part of the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration organized by the state and that Frederick is planning an additional celebration to honor Key’s writing of the poem to take place in September 2014.

Tina Orcutt, superintendent of the Fort McHenry National Memorial & Historic Shrine, led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance to open the launch ceremony. After her welcome message, Baltimore’s WBAL news anchor Donna Hamilton took over as master of ceremonies to introduce the dignitaries.

Sen. Ben Cardin spoke on how he helped push the bill through the Senate. U.S. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger sponsored the original bill. Rep. John Sarbanes, whose district includes Fort McHenry, also spoke, as did Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The program concluded with a few words from U.S. Mint Chief Counsel Daniel Shaver, who presented Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley with a shadowbox containing the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative silver dollar

The 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative coins are available as $5 gold coins and $1 silver. Both can be purchased as uncirculated or proofs from the U.S. Mint. Surcharges collected from sales of these coins, $35 for the gold coin and $10 for the silver coin, will be paid to the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to support the celebration that will last through 2014.

 

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