The United States Mint American Innovation $1 Coin Program is a multi-year series honoring innovation and innovators with $1 coins from each State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands. The Pennsylvania coin is the second of four to be released in 2019. It features the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1950s. At the time, polio was a devastating disease that disproportionally affected children and young adults and left many paralyzed and unable to walk.
The reverse depicts an artist’s conception of the poliovirus at three different levels of magnification along with the silhouette of a period microscope, representing the extensive research conducted to develop a cure for polio. The inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “POLIO VACCINE,” “1953,” and “PENNSYLVANIA.”
The obverse design features a dramatic representation of the Statue of Liberty in profile with the inscriptions “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “$1.” The obverse also includes a privy mark of a stylized gear, representing industry and innovation.
The edge-incused inscriptions are “2019,” mint mark, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”