When Francis Scott Key penned his poem titled "Defence of Fort McHenry" in 1814, little did he know that it would one day become the national anthem of the United States of America. Renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", Key’s now-famous poem was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem of the United States on March 3, 1931 through a congressional resolution which was signed into law by President Herbert Hoover.
The inspiration for the poem came to Key while he was being held captive on British ships HMS Surprise and HMS Minden during the War of 1812. Key witnessed the Battle of Fort McHenry from the British Royal Navy ships and observed that a smaller "storm flag" continued to fly at the fort during the bombardment. The next dawn Key noticed that the smaller flag had been replaced with a larger flag, signifying American victory. He was so moved by the sight of the large American flag flying triumphantly above the fort that he took out a letter he had in his pocket, turned it over to the backside, and began writing the lyrics that would eventually become the national anthem.
The flag that inspired the poem is now on display in the National Museum of American History. The 15-star, 15-stripe flag came to be known as the "Star Spangled Banner" Flag. The original manuscript copy of Francis Scott Key’s "Star-Spangled Banner" poem is now on display at the Maryland Historical Society. Americans are very familiar with the Star-Spangled Banner, as they proudly sing it before all major sporting events in the country, as well as at many other public gatherings.
Now coin enthusiasts have a brand new way to commemorate the National Anthem of the United States of America, with the release of the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Program from the U.S. Mint. Available in both proof and uncirculated varieties as a Silver Dollar and as a Gold Five-Dollar Coin, these new commems feature designs honoring this important time in U.S. history.
The obverse of the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Silver Dollar depicts Lady Liberty waving the 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner flag with Fort McHenry in the background. Inscriptions include LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and 2012. The reverse design captures a waving modern American flag, with the inscriptions ONE DOLLAR, E PLURIBUS UNUM and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The Silver Dollar is produced at the Philadelphia Mint and includes a "P" mint mark on the front of the coin.
Gold Five-Dollar Coin
The obvers of the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar Coin depicts a naval battle scene from the War of 1812, with an American ship sailing in the foreground and a damaged fleeing British ship in the background. Inscriptions include IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY and 1812-2012. The reverse design features 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. The reverse inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM and FIVE DOLLARS. The Gold Coin is produced at the West Point Mint and includes a "W" mint mark on the front.
Both the silver and gold commemorative coins are emblematic of The Star-Spangled Banner - with the Silver Dollar symbolizing "The Star-Spangled Banner" flag, and the Gold Five-Dollar Coin symbolizing "The Star-Spangled Banner" song. Celebrate the bicentennial of this monumental time in the history of the United States of America by adding a 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin, in either Silver or Gold…or both, to your collection!