Editor's note: The following is the sixth in a series of posts on
the historical record that can be tracked through U.S. coins. The
subject is the cover story of our July monthly issue.
To read other stories in the series, click here.
The young nation was soon tested, facing the British again in the
War of 1812, which cemented America’s position on the North American map.
The United States was moved to declare war because of naval issues
(British vessels were commandeering U.S. sailors, forcing or
impressing them into service), and trade concerns (a British blockade
halted trade between the United States and the French).
The most iconic result of the war was a poem that would be the basis
for a song that would become America’s national anthem, the
Written by Francis Scott Key after he saw the American flag still
flying after a victory against the British at Fort McHenry, the poem
was set to a British song then also popular in the United States, “To
Anacreon in Heaven.”
Congress made the Star-Spangled Banner the official national anthem
in 1931, but it had been performed (along with a handful of other
songs) in patriotic celebrations for many years prior.
In 2013, the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine was
featured on a quarter dollar in the America the Beautiful series from
the U.S. Mint.
The reverse design represents the site during the “Defenders Day”
celebration, considered the centerpiece annual event held at Fort
McHenry. The annual fireworks symbolize the “rocket’s red glare,”
linking the fort to its historic past.
The bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner flag in 2012 was
commemorated with a silver dollar and gold $5 coin.
The obverse of the gold coin 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 depicts the first words of the Star-Spangled Banner
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 of the silver dollar depicts Lady Liberty waving the
15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner flag with Fort McHenry in the background.
The reverse depicts a waving modern American flag.
More from CoinWorld.com:
American Liberty, High Relief gold coin to be 1-ounce, $100 face
by eBay exempts some numismatic items from Confederate flag ban
Lincoln, Small Date cent discovery a keeper: Found in Rolls
calls for commemorative coins celebrating 50th anniversary of
did the Proof Jackie Kennedy coins go?
Keep up with all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by signing
up for our free eNewsletters, liking
us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!