Coins - 1989 Prestige
For the 1989 Prestige Set, the US Mint recognized 200 years of the Congress of the United
States. Congress began in 1789 after the states ratified the Constitution drafted in 1787.
The size and outer format of the packaging remained the same as the earlier three years with only
minor changes in the colors used for the outer box, inner book and Certificate of
The Prestige Set contained seven proof coins, five standard coinage, a commemorative silver dollar and
a commemorative clad half dollar celebrating the 200th anniversary of Congress. The coins equal
$2.41 in face value. The US Mint initially sold the 1989 Prestige Set for $45 which would be
$78.98 in 2010 money using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator.
The outer box, in the color of dark chocolate, provides a contrast to the silver print of
the heraldic eagle emblem and the inscription "UNITED STATES 1989 PRESTIGE SET."
The two-piece box measures 5 1/4 inches by 7 3/8 inches by 1 5/8 inches when closed.
Inside the two-piece box, the book containing the seven coins and the Certificate of Authenticity fit
The plush velvet covering the outside of the coin book is more the color of milk
chocolate. Metal brackets protect the corners of the velvet covered book, and on the front cover, the
metallic heraldic eagle design decorates the center of the book.
Inside the front cover, off-white padded fabric highlights the silver print of the heraldic eagle
and the inscription "UNITED STATES MINT 1989 PRESTIGE SET."
A red, white and blue ribbon attaches to form a triangle across the lower left. This ribbon can be used to
secure the Certificate
of Authenticity inside the set.
On the right, plastic in two colors of chocolate brown holds the coins securely. The coins'
obverse and reverse designs can be seen behind clear acrylic. At the top, the silver commemorative silver
dollar takes the important position with the commemorative clad half dollar taking the lower right
Viewing the reverse, the inside back cover contains padding to protect the coins'
plastic and acrylic holder.
The obverse of the commemorative silver dollar shows the Statue of Freedom. This statue, commissioned in 1855,
sits atop the capitol dome in Washington, D.C. The architect's initial plan for the dome included a statue to
represent "Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace."
On the capitol's dome, the female figure for "Freedom" wears flowing robes held by a brooch with "U.S." engraved
on it. Her right hand rests on the hilt of a sword and in her left she holds a laurel wreath signifying victory and
the shield of the United States with thirteen stripes for the original thirteen states.
More information about the statue from its beginnings in Italy, its leaky ship passage and its
installation can be found on the Architect of the Capitol web site.
On the obverse of the silver coin, the Statue of Freedom stands proudly overlooking our lands. "LIBERTY" circles
the top half of the coin with "IN GOD WE TRUST" around the bottom under the status. Both "1789" and "1989" are
inscribed on the coin to the left and right of the Statue respectively.
The reverse of the Congressional silver dollar shows an image of the Mace of the House of Representatives.
The Mace contains thirteen ebony rods roughly three feet long bound by silver - thirteen for the original thirteen
states. At the top sits a globe of solid silver approximately five inches in diameter on which rests a large silver
eagle with wings outspread.
The Mace can be used by the Speaker to remind members of the dignity and respectability of the House in times of
heated debates. In addition, the position of the Mace is important. When the Mace is upright in its
pedestal to the right of the Speaker's dais, the House is sitting as one body. When the House is sitting in
committee of the whole, the Mace stands on the floor at the foot of its pedestal.
The Mace of the House of Representatives was based on a similar emblem used in the British House of Commons.
The inscriptions "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "ONE DOLLAR" encircle the rim. To the left of the Mace is
engraved "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and to the right, "BICENTENNIAL OF THE CONGRESS."
The Congressional clad half dollar shows a bust of the Statue of Freedom on the obverse.
Several inscriptions follow the rim of the coin, below the bust and with the dates across the middle of the
coin. "BICENTENNIAL OF THE CONGRESS," "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and "1789" and "1989" fit on the
coin in addition to the bust.
The reverse of the Congressional clad half dollar s illustrates the capitol building with the Statue
of Freedom at the top of the dome. In addition, thirteen stars represent the initial thirteen states.
The inscriptions include: "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "HALF DOLLAR."
Let's look at a closer view of the bust of the Statue of Freedom.
The artist captured pride and optimism in the carriage of the head and the look in the eyes. It
seems she is looking forward with optimism.
The coins honored not only the 200 years of the Congress of the United States but they also honored the freedoms
we as a nation have enjoyed and continue to enjoy today.