Coins - Young Collectors
Edition Coin Sets - 1996 Smithsonian Institution
In 1996, the United States Mint offered a silver dollar in their Young Collectors Edition Coin Sets
acknowledging the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution. The collectible coin commemorates the
150 years of collecting.
This coin set package is similar to the previous coin sets but differs slightly in size and
in the construction of the inner coin package. The set measures six inches by six inches by 3/8
inch with it being slightly thicker. The outer sleeve is constructed of card stock printed in color,
and the inner package, also of color card stock, is folded around a soft core to protect the
On the front of the package, Jeremiah and Christina, dressed in clothing of over a century ago, ride
bicycles with large front wheels and small rear wheels in front of what is known as the "the Castle," the
Smithsonian's first building. Their dog, Charlie, races along beside their bikes.
The title of the package states, "The United States Mint 150th Anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution" near
the bottom of the front of the outer package.
The rear of the outer package looks upward in front of "the Castle" and contains the Certificate of
The 1996 Smithsonian
150th Anniversary Commemorative Silver Dollar
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY
Philip N. Diehl, Director, United States Mint
Obverse Design: Smithsonian Castle
Reverse Design: Allegorical Figure with Torch of Knowledge
(Based on the Smithsonian's gold Langley
Obverse Designer/Engraver: Thomas D. Rogers, Sr.
Reverse Designer/Engraver: John Mercanti
Mint: Philadelphia "P"
Diameter: 1.500 inches
Composition: 90% silver (0.76 troy ounce), 10% copper
Weight: 26.730 grams
For the inner coin package, the story changes to represent current day. Christina and Jeremiah
are still riding bicycles but in modern clothing to include safety gear. Again, Charlie runs along the
path with them. Notice, too, the building in the background changed to be the Smithsonian's National Air and
The back of the inner coin package shows the reverse (tails) side of the coin in addition to their
Keep the Smithsonian spirit alive
Your new silver dollar commemorates the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary, which is why it's called a
commemorative coin. It's one way you can help keep the Smithsonian spirit alive. Building a coin collection is
another way. That's because you'll keep your own record of history through coins.
The picture on the lower right is captioned, "'Smithsonite,' a mineral named for its discoverer, James
Smithson, is in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History."
The package differs from earlier coin sets in that it only opens vertically. Here, the back is shown
at the top and the front at the bottom of the picture.
Unfolded, the inside of the front cover is at the top and the back padded cover holding the coin is at the
On the upper section, Jeremiah, with Charlie beside him, looks up toward the airplane which
includes the caption, "Charles Lindbergh's 'Spirit of St. Louis' plane now hangs in the Smithsonian's National Air
and Space Museum."
Below, the message includes:
Say 'Happy Birthday' to America's biggest collector
America's biggest collector is 150 years old this year. It's the Smithsonian Institution, located in our
nation's capital, Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian's first building, which we now call "the Castle," is on the
obverse, or front, of your new coin. It's one of 16 museums and the National Zoo that now hold the
Smithsonian's 138,843,700 animals, artifacts, relics and other treasures, such as the real Star-Spangled
Banner; the Spirit of St. Louis, the first plane to fly across the Atlantic Ocean; room after room of dinosaur
skeletons; and Smithsonite, a mineral discovered by and named for James Smithson, the person for whom the
Smithsonian Institution was named. If you were to view every single item in the Smithsonian for just one second
each, it would take you 4 1/2 years non-stop.
On the bottom section, Christina stands below and looks up to the dinosaur skeleton with the caption,
"A fossilized skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History."
In addition, the text reads:
Collecting to remember
Collecting is one way to record history. The Smithsonian Institution's collections include many milestones in
America's and the world's history, including one of the world's great coin collections. Over 300,000
pieces, from coins more than 2,600 years old to a brand-new silver dollar just like yours, make up
the National Numismatic Collection.
By gathering and sharing its collections with more than 25 million visitors a year, the Smithsonian lives up
to the goal of James Smithson. Mr. Smithson willed his estate to the United States to create an establishment
for "the increase and diffusion of knowledge." You'll see these words, as well as a replica of the
Smithsonian's gold Langley Medal, on the reverse, or back, of your new silver dollar.
Just look at the detail of "the Castle" on the obverse (heads) of the silver dollar. The
windows and doors of the various towers can clearly be seen along with the flag waving high.
On the coin's reverse (tails), the figure holds the Torch of Knowledge in her left hand and sits
on the globe near the United States. In her right, she holds a scroll inscribed with "Art Science
History." Smithson's challenge to the US in using his estate's wealth, "for the increase and diffusion of
knowledge" is inscribed to the right.
For over 150 years, the Smithsonian Institution has nobly followed Mr. Smithson's instructions with their
Collecting coins provides knowledge and a tangible artifact about history. You can enjoy collecting these
coins either through the Young Collectors Edition coin sets or through commemorative coins.