[Nfbc-info] Louis Braille Coin Launch Invitation
dandrews at visi.com
Fri Feb 27 01:40:45 UTC 2009
The launch of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial
Silver Dollar will take place on March 26, 2009,
at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan
Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
If you love Braille, want to learn more about it,
or want to join us in our effort to bring
awareness to the Braille literacy crisis, we urge
you to attend this extraordinary event. It is not
often that such a unique opportunity arises, and
we hope that you will join us as we celebrate
this defining moment in American history.
Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. and will last
until approximately 1:00 p.m. There will be
activities for all ages, and the first
opportunity to purchase the Louis Braille Coin
will be available exclusively to those in attendance.
While seating is not limited, it is helpful for
us to know how many people to expect. Please
assist us in providing you with the best possible
experience by filling out the event registration
form at www.Braille.org. As details of the event
are announced, your registration will ensure that you are the first to know.
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
For more information please call 410-659-9314 x2230
U.S. Mint Information
The 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar
commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth
of Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille system,
which is still used by the blind to read and write.
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 fathers 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 Napoleons army, Charles
Barbier de la Serre, visited Brailles 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 Brailles achievement
was recognized in 1952 the 100th anniversary of
his death when his body was moved to Paris and interred in the Pantheon.
Now, for the first time in history, a United
States coin features readable Braille. It is
available in both proof and uncirculated
versions. The obverse (heads) features a portrait
of Louis Braille designed by United States Mint
Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer
Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint
Sculptor/Engraver Phebe Hemphill. It is also
inscribed with LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, LOUIS BRAILLE, 1809 and 2009.
The reverse (tails), showing a child reading a
book in Braille, was designed by United States
Mint AIP Master Designer Susan Gamble and
sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor/Engraver
Joseph Menna. The word Braille (abbreviated Brl
in Braille code) is depicted in the upper field.
The word INDEPENDENCE is featured on a bookshelf
behind the child, in addition to the inscriptions
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ONE DOLLAR and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Surcharges from sales of the 2009 Louis Braille
Bicentennial Silver Dollar are authorized to be
paid to the National Federation of the Blind to
further its programs to promote Braille literacy.
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