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Braille dollar makes debut

Mint Director Ed Moy traveled to the Baltimore headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind March 26 to formally launch the Louis Braille commemorative silver dollar on the day sales to collectors also began.

His host was Marc Maurer, president of the NFB.

The commemorative celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the Braille alphabet, a system of raised dots that allows the blind to read using their fingers.

The Braille alphabet is used on the coin itself.

“For the first time in history, the United States has a coin with readable Braille,” Moy said. “The 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial silver dollar honors the developer of Braille, a tactile code that has been instrumental in the literacy and independence of the world’s blind people.”

Moy gave Maurer a special plaque to mark the occasion. It contains the obverse and reverse of an uncirculated version of the dollar coin in capsules on either end of two other coins with the obverse and reverse displayed so that they can be touched and read by the blind.

A special videotaped message from Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, one of the primary sponsors of the authorizing legislation, was played to the assembled guests.

Maximum mintage of the new coin is set at 400,000.

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