BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (both D-MD) today were joined by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes in unveiling two commemorative coins that will go on sale today to fund the Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem.
Senator Cardin and Congressman Ruppersberger sponsored legislation, signed into law by President Obama in August 2010, creating the two commemorative coins that will help fund programs to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore. Starting today, the U.S. Mint will sell 100,000 gold coins and 500,000 silver coins, the surcharges of which will go to the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.
“The War of 1812 is often referred to as the Second War of Independence and it deserves broad, national recognition,” said Senator Cardin. “These commemorative coins will help make it possible for Maryland and all Americans to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the upcoming anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore in which the Star-Spangled Banner was composed. I want to be sure we honor and recognize one of the most important chapters in our nation’s early history.”
“This coin not only symbolizes the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry that inspired our national anthem, but the legislative battle that was fought so that we can properly celebrate its bicentennial,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Those years of hard work have paid off, and now, Americans everywhere can own a piece of the people, spirit and history of Maryland.”
The War of 1812 ensured America’s continued independence from the British. After two and a half years of conflict, in which British troops burned Washington, D.C., American soldiers stopped the British as they attempted to capture Baltimore. After 25 hours of bombardment, the British failed to take Fort McHenry at the mouth of the Baltimore Harbor and were forced to retreat. Francis Scott Key immortalized the battle in a poem that was later set to music and called the Star-Spangled Banner. The Star-Spangled Banner later became the national anthem of the United States on March 3, 1931.
About the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins
The obverse (heads) design is emblematic of the theme “The Battles at Sea During the War of 1812.” It depicts a naval battle scene from the War of 1812 with an American sailing ship in the foreground and a damaged and fleeing British ship in the background. The reverse (tails) design is emblematic of the theme “The Star-Spangled Banner” and depicts the first words of the Star-Spangled Banner National Anthem, “O say can you see,” in Francis Scott Key’s handwriting against a backdrop of 15 stars and 15 stripes, representing the Star-Spangled Banner flag.
The obverse (heads) design is emblematic of the theme “The Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry” and depicts Lady Liberty waving the 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner flag with Fort McHenry in the background. The reverse (tails) is also emblematic of the theme “The Star-Spangled Banner” and depicts a waving modern American flag.
For more information about the Commemorative Coins, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/?action=commemoratives.