Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

April 14, 2000

Library of Congress Commemorative Coins Available April 24

The Library of Congress's Bicentennial will be marked with the issuance of two commemorative coins by the U.S. Mint, including the nation's first bimetallic commemorative (gold and platinum). The coins are also the first commemoratives of 2000 and the first to honor a library.

"The Library of Congress is honored that its 200th birthday will be recognized by the U.S. Congress with the issuance of these special coins," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "This signal honor is one that recognizes the importance of the nation's library as well as America's libraries."

The Library's birthday celebration begins in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building on April 24 at 9:30 a.m., when officials from the U.S. Mint will join Dr. Billington and Deputy Librarian Donald Scott in a ceremony marking the issuance of the coins. This will be followed by a ceremony at 10:00 a.m., marking the "first-day" issue of the Library of Congress commemorative stamp. The engravers of the coins, Thomas D. Rogers and John Mercanti, will be on hand to autograph the certificates of authenticity, and stamp designer Ethel Kessler will autograph first-day covers (envelope with cachet design, stamp and "first-day" issue design).

Legislation calling for a Library of Congress commemorative coin program was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. William M. Thomas (R-Calif.), then chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, and in the Senate by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the Joint Committee's current chairman. The bills passed on May 5 and Aug. 4, 1998, respectively, and were signed into law (P.L. 105-268) by President Bill Clinton on Oct. 19, 1998. The legislation authorizes up to 500,000 silver and 200,000 bimetallic coins to be minted on demand.

The $1 silver coin features the Torch of Learning and an open book on the obverse side, and the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building on the reverse side. The obverse of the $10 bimetallic coin features Roman goddess of wisdom Minerva's hand on the Torch of Learning with the Jefferson building dome in the background; the Library's seal appears on the reverse side. The coins will be mounted individually in satin-lined, velvet presentation cases and accompanied by official certificates of authenticity.

The U.S. Mint has set the pre-issue price for the silver coin at $28 and post-issue price at $32. The pre-issue price of the bimetallic coin is $395 and the post-issue price is $425. The lower rate will be in effect from April 24 until June 9. A percentage of the revenues from the coins will be returned to the Library for educational outreach efforts and other Library of Congress activities. Beginning April 24, coins will be available for public purchase through the U.S. Mint's official Web site at or by calling (800) USA-MINT.

To view images of the Library's coins and to find out about other Library of Congress Bicentennial activities, visit the Library's Web site at

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PR 00-052
ISSN 0731-3527

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