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Proceeds from the coins to benefit continuing Bald Eagle care and preservation efforts.

WASHINGTON - The United States Mint will issue three limited-edition commemorative coins on January 15th celebrating the dramatic comeback of the Bald Eagle to America’s lands, waterways and skies, and marking the 35th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. 

"We’re excited to work closely with the United States Mint and their artists and engravers to create these beautiful coins,” said American Eagle Foundation (AEF) ( founder and President Al Cecere. “We hope the public will enthusiastically support this program to aid the bald eagle, a precious national treasure, for generations to come.”

The collectable coins include a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar and a clad half-dollar (available individually and in three different special sets), and will only be sold through Dec. 31, 2008.  During a one-month pre-issue period, Jan. 15th through Feb. 14th, the coins will be available at a special discounted price.  They can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). 

A surcharge from the sale of each commemorative coin will be earmarked to create a special American Eagle Fund endowment managed by the not-for-profit AEF.  The coin program has the potential of generating over $10 million for the eagle protection cause.

The three coins will feature both natural and historical Bald Eagle images and emblems. The clad half-dollar, which is included in a special product targeted at young collectors, features the stately profile of the Bald Eagle "Challenger” on one side and two baby eaglets snuggled in their nest on the opposite side.  “Challenger,” a 19-year-old non-releasable bird cared for by the AEF, is internationally known for his spectacular free-flight educational appearances at high-profile sporting events and ceremonies coast to coast.

"This is the first time in our country’s history that the likeness of a specific famous Bald Eagle has appeared on legal tender United States coinage,” said Cecere.  “In fact, Challenger and the AEF staff campaigned tirelessly on Capitol Hill to assure that the coin bill was passed unanimously.”

The American Bald Eagle Recovery & National Emblem Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4116) was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2004, to celebrate and further aid the recovery of the American Eagle.

The AEF, headquartered at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., spearheaded the legislation in cooperation with members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation and others. By the end of November 2004, 70 Senators and 300 House of Representatives members had signed on as co-sponsors. 

"We're grateful to President Bush and hundreds of elected officials from across the nation for uniting behind this important effort to celebrate and preserve our country’s living symbol of freedom,” said Cecere. “The amazing groundswell of support this coin program received from caring Republicans and Democrats was a real blessing for our national bird.”

Former Congressman William Jenkins (R-TN) introduced the original legislation (H.R. 4116) in the U. S. House of Representatives. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced a companion bill (S. 2889) in the U.S. Senate.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), former Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN), Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN), the Tennessee delegation and others worked diligently behind the scenes to ensure that the legislation passed during the 108th Congress.

"On June 20, 1782, the USA’s founding fathers selected the Bald Eagle as the central image of the United States national emblem at the Second Continental Congress," said Cecere. "This majestic bird has come to represent the spirit of freedom and democracy that makes our nation great.”

2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program Information

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