U.S. Mint to Issue Coin Honoring Perry

An Erie legend is getting his own coin.

Oliver Hazard Perry, the commodore who led a historic victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, will be featured on a quarter manufactured by the United States Mint.

The coin, scheduled to be released April 1, is part of the America the Beautiful Quarters series.

In April 2010, the Mint issued the first of 56 coins in the series, which features designs depicting national parks and other national sites.

The first quarter featured Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.

The 56th and final coin in the series, depicting the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama, is scheduled for release in 2021.

The Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial coin is the second quarter in the America the Beautiful series to be released this year. A quarter featuring White Mountain National Forest, which is located in both Maine and New Hampshire, was issued Jan. 28.

The Perry coin honors the historic site in Ohio, a memorial established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813, near Put-in-Bay. The battle is considered one of the most significant naval fights to occur during the War of 1812.

The coin's release is timely for the Perry 200 Commemoration, which has scheduled many events throughout the Erie region marking the bicentennial celebration.

The Perry 200 Grand Patriotic Parade will be held in Erie on May 25. The Tall Ships Erie Festival runs Sept. 5 to 8.

"It's marvelous that they issued the coin," said Joyce Savocchio, the former Erie mayor who's a chairwoman of Perry 200. "It really heightens what we're doing here and brings more attention to Perry, this war and the building of his fleet here in Erie. This is known as the forgotten war. This quarter will help generate new interest in it."

Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial is a 25-acre spot in Put-in-Bay first established as a national site on March 3, 1919.

The memorial, a Doric column rising 352 feet over Lake Erie, is five miles from the longest undefended border in the world, according to the U.S. Mint. The memorial annually draws 200,000 visitors. The Perry quarter's design depicts the commodore with the Peace Memorial located in the distance.

When asked if organizers plan to buy some of the Perry quarters to use as change for vendors at Perry 200 events, Savocchio said "it's a possibility."

"We will look into it," she added. "We're not sure if Put-in-Bay will do something like that. We're very sensitive not to offend the folks in Put-in-Bay."

Savocchio said Perry 200 officials have discussed producing a Perry coin of their own.

Other coins scheduled to be issued this year by the Mint in the America the Beautiful series will feature Great Basin National Park in Nevada (to be released June 10), Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Maryland (Aug. 26), and Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota (Nov. 4).

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