5 July:Officials unveiled the prototype of the first US coin with readable Braille characters on a silver dollar commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the creator of the alphabet for the blind.The coin’s display opened the National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention in Dallas.
"This is going to put Braille in front of people in a very dramatic way," said Chris Danielson, a federation spokesman.
US Mint director Ed Moy, federation president Marc Maurer and US Rep Pete Sessions revealed the design of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar in front of about 1,000 people at an outdoor plaza.
The heads side of the commemorative coin depicts Louis Braille with the word "Liberty" above it.
On the back of the coin, the Braille code for the word Braille — or "Brl" — is inscribed, above a depiction of a school-age boy reading a Braille book with a cane resting on his arm. Behind him is a bookshelf bearing the word "Independence."
"It really expresses the hopes, the dreams and the independent spirit," NFB Executive Director Mark Riccobono said of the design.
While all coins distributed by the US Mint are distinguishable to the blind by their size and weight, the Braille silver dollar is the first to have Braille characters that can be read, Moy said.
Paper money can be much more of a challenge for blind people.
A federal appeals court in May ruled that the United States discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills’ varying values.Courtsey : DD NEWS