It's Mokie's Blog

16 Nov 2019

The Fort McHenry Garrison Flag

Coins | It's Mokie

When we see our flag today, we see a blue field with 50 stars and 13 alternating red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies. But as you're all aware, our flag has evolved over the decades and has added stars along the way as new States are added to the Union. But did you know that the Stripes also increased in number too? The flag that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 when the British attacked had 15 Stars and 15 Stripes representing the 13 original colonies and the two new states of Vermont and Kentucky. Of course the practicality of adding stars AND stripes to the flag was soon in question and all our subsequent flags have 13 stripes.

Oddly enough, by 1814, when Fort McHenry was attacked by the British, we actually had 18 States so our flag was already outdated. A new flag with 20 Stars and 13 Stripes (the current stripe standard) did not appear until 1818. But this is a blog about a particular coin issued in 2012 to commemorate the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. According to legend, Francis Scott Key was observing the bombarding of Fort McHenry in September of 1814 when through a clearing of the smoke, he spied our flag flying proudly over the Fort and wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner, this became our National Anthem in 1931 and has bedeviled famous singers ever since.

In my humble opinion, the design of this coin is one of the best in the modern era with its obverse portraying Liberty proudly holding the Flag with Fort McHenry in the background along with Liberty, In God We Trust, and 2012 P. The Reverse shows a view of the star filled field billowing in the breeze with One Dollar, E Pluribus Unum, and United States of America. The obverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, the reverse was designed by William C. Burgard III and sculpted by Don Everhart.

Two oddities about this coin, the date 2012 does not correspond to the actual event pictured which occurred in 1814. Unlike the vast majority of U.S. coin, the design itself does not feature the date at the center bottom (even though it is slabbed incorrectly) the body of Liberty should be at the center bottom to make the design work properly.



Level 4

My social studies teacher has a poster in his room about how the flag has evolved.


Level 4

I love the way the early US flags were made. That being said I agree with you that this is one of the best original designs the US mint has put out in the last few years.

The reverse of this coin is really sharp and if the Mint artists put out more designs like it, I'd buy everything they offered.

So this coin does not show the 50 stars flag? Interesting

It's Mokie

Level 6

The Obverse flag definitely has 15 stars, but the Reverse side flag may be the modern flag, I count more than 15 stars in the field.


Level 5

I love the history associated with this coin. Like you, it is among my favorite modern commemoratives. I own the proof and uncirculated-dollar versions of this coin. The reverse flag is simply amazing and Lady Liberty...enough said!


Level 6

Great blog. I really like reading about the history. However slabbed that coin didn't even get close.Poor Miss Liberty is sliding off. Some times I don't think the TPG even try. I have several coins that they mis-state the obverse and reverse sides.. That one is a beauty.. Thanks


Level 6

Some times simple is best.


Level 7

Good blog great coin. I made sure that I got one. The history I love. I still can't get over that our National Anthem was a old British pub song. Thanks I appreciate our history. We should all cherish it.

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