By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
UPDATE (10/10/19): President Trump signed the bill on Wednesday, October 9, 2019.
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After years of trying and bills introduced to multiple Congresses, on Thursday, September 19, the 116th Congress of the United States passed the most recent version of the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act. The Senate bill (S. 239), having been approved by that body on July 9, was placed on the schedule of the House of Representatives on September 13, six days before a successful voice vote. It was presented to President Donald J. Trump on September 27 and now awaits his signature for enactment.
Introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) (who was also partly responsible for an earlier commemorative proposal honoring McAuliffe) on January 28 of this year, the 2019 commemorative coin bill authorizes the United States Mint to strike a maximum of 350,000 $1 coins made of 90% silver. The obverse design would feature the portrait and name of Christa McAuliffe, who had been a high school social studies teacher in Concord, New Hampshire for three years before flying on Space Shuttle Challenger. The reverse design would feature art that “depicts [her] legacy … as a teacher.” All legally mandated inscriptions and mottos will be included on their respective sides.
The coins would be dated 2021, the 35th anniversary of the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986.
All surcharges from the sale of Christa McAuliffe $1 commemorative silver coins would be paid to the FIRST Robotics program founded by inventor Dean Kamen and incorporated in 1989. According to Kamen, FIRST’s mission is to “inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators … by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills.” Interestingly, Kamen’s father, the illustrator and comic book artist Jack Kamen, produced designs for a Christa McAuliffe commemorative coin not long after the Challenger disaster itself.
The House version of Senate Bill 239–H.R. 500–was introduced on January 11 by Representative Fred Upton (R-6) from Michigan. Michigan, according to Rep. Upton, is home to more FIRST Robotics scholastic teams than any other state.
The following widgets from GovTrack.us will update if President Trump signs the program into law.
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