Thursday, October 9, 2014

1st coin using braille writing in design

Do you know what is the first coin using braille writing in its design? A coin minted by PobJoy Mint in 1981 to commemorate Year of the Disabled, Isle of Man 1 Crown coin successfully lead other coin in creating a record as the first coin using braille writing in its design. 50,000 Copper-Nickel coins are minted along with a Prooflike Crown coin.

1st braille coin

The coin obverse show a diademed and draped bust of the Queen facing right; around, "ISLE OF MAN ELIZABETH II 1981" and the coin reverse show a Louise Braille reading a braille book with inscription incuse on his jacket "LOUIS BRAILLE" and inscription above "INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE DISABLED". The Face value below "ONE CROWN". It had a weight of 28.50 g and a diameter of 37 mm.

At first, I thought the United States 2009 Louis Braille Commemorative coin is the world's first braille coin. There is another coin using braille before, 1982 500 Lire circulating commemorative minted by the Italian state mint. The coin reverse show a face value (L.500) written in Braille characters on top of the bi-metal coin.

bi-metallic coin

The coin with a woman head on the obverse and the Quirinal Palace in Rome on the reverse is the 1st bi-metallic coin for general circulation. The coin is made with a Bronzital center in Acmonital ring. It had a weight of 6.80g and a diameter of 25.8mm. Only 162,000 pieces are minted for 1982 coins but the coins were made until 2001 with obverse portrait varieties.

While, the United States 2009 Louis Braille Commemorative coin release on March 26, 2009, to honor the inventor of the Braille System of reading and writing used by the blind and visually impaired. They are released in 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. There are a number of other coins from different countries issued to commemorate Louis Braille during that year.

Braille Dollar

United States 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Uncirculated Coin
The reverse of the coin features a young boy reading a Braille Book. There is a bookcase filled with books behind him with the inscription “Independence”. Additional inscriptions include “United States of America”, “E Pluribus Unum”, and “One Dollar”. The letter “BRL” short for “Braille” are included in Braille characters. Notably this is the first time readable Braille characters have appeared on US coinage.

€2 Braille

Belgium €2 200th Birthday of Louis Braille commemorative coin
The inner part of the coin features a portrait of Louis Braille between his initials (L and B) in the Braille alphabet that he designed. Above the portrait is the inscription LOUIS BRAILLE, and underneath is the inscription BE between the dates 1809 and 2009. To the left and right respectively are the mint mark and the mint master mark. The twelve stars of the European Union surround the design on the outer ring of the coin.

Braille coin

Italy €2 200th Birthday of Louis Braille commemorative coin
The inner part of the coin depicts a hand reading an open book by touch. Above the index finger, which is pointing at the vertical inscription LOUIS BRAILLE 1809–2009, are two birds symbolising freedom of knowledge. The issuing country reference RI is at the top right, while the mint mark R is at the bottom right. Braille's name is written under the book in the Braille alphabet that he invented. At the very bottom are the initials MCC of the artist Maria Carmela Colanéri. The twelve stars of the European Union surround the design on the outer ring of the coin.

There are also some braille writing coins issued by other countries in different.


This is the history of Louis Braille by US Mint:

"Louis Braille was born in Coupvray, France, near Paris, on January 4, 1809. At the age of three, he lost the sight in his left eye as the result of an accident in his father’s workshop. An infection spread to his right eye and he became completely blind by the age of four. At the age of 10, Braille received a scholarship to attend the Royal Institute for Blind Children in Paris, where he became the youngest student. At the school, most instruction was oral, but Braille read books for the blind, which had large letters embossed on the pages.

In 1821, a captain in Napoleon’s army, Charles Barbier de la Serre, visited Braille’s school and introduced a system he had invented called “night writing.” This was a method for communicating on the battlefield at night without having to talk or light a match, which could alert the enemy. It consisted of 12 raised dots which could be combined to represent words by sounds rather than letters. Over the next few months, Braille experimented with different configurations until he found a simpler one using just six dots.

By the age of 15, using a blunt awl (the same type of tool that had injured his left eye 12 years earlier) to punch holes in paper to represent letters, Braille had developed the code that is essentially what we know today as modern Braille. It uses no more than six dots in a “cell” of two columns of up to three dots each to represent letters and contains a system of punctuation and “contractions” to speed reading and writing. It is read by passing the fingers over the raised dots.

Today, Braille has been adapted to almost every known language and is used everywhere from bus stops and maps to music notation and text books. In his native France, Louis Braille’s achievement was recognized in 1952 – the 100th anniversary of his death – when his body was moved to Paris and interred in the Pantheon."

Source: United States Mint