On Friday, December 18, United States Mint Director David J. Ryder participated in a virtual design unveiling for the 2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar. McAuliffe, a high school social studies teacher, was the first participant in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Teacher in Space program. She and six astronauts tragically lost their lives in the Space Shuttle Challenger flight on January 28, 1986.
The designs will be featured on a silver coin authorized by Public Law 116-65. In a pre-recorded video, Director Ryder said:
“This silver dollar will celebrate the life and legacy of a true pioneer, a passionate educator, and an inspiration to millions. We hope this coin will honor Christa McAuliffe’s memory, and we are proud to assist in the continued legacy of her mission to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders.”
Other participants in the prerecorded program broadcast on FIRSTtv included Judge Steven J. McAuliffe; New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu; United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); United States Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY); U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI6); and Dean Kamen, Founder of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization. FIRST is a not-for-profit science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) engagement program for kids worldwide.
The obverse design depicts a portrait of McAuliffe with a hopeful gaze and the inscriptions “CHRISTA McAULIFFE,” “2021,” “LIBERTY,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Laurie J. Musser created the design, which was sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill.
The reverse design depicts McAuliffe as a teacher, smiling as she points forward and upward, symbolizing the future. Three high school-age students look on with wonder. The seven stars pay tribute to those who perished in the Challenger tragedy. Around the border are the inscriptions “I TOUCH THE FUTURE. I TEACH.,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “ONE DOLLAR,” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” The FIRST organization logo is included in the design. The reverse design was created by AIP Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by Chief Engraver Joseph Menna.
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About the United States Mint
The US Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce.
The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. The Mint’s numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.