May 20, 2024

On one hand, what a huge honor. Of all people that could be featured on a piece of money printed by the US Mint, it could be a Mainer? How cool is that?
But on the other hand, is this a bit of a shaft job?
According to WGME, there's a plan by the US Mint to roll out brand new money in 2024 that will feature people who have come up with amazing inventions throughout the years. It just so happens that one of the people being proposed to appear on the new money is a Mainer from Lewiston, Dr. Bernard Lown.
Back in 1962, Dr. Lown — who moved to Lewiston when he was 14 from his native Lithuania and went on to graduate from Lewiston High, the University of Maine, and Johns Hopkins Medical School — invented the direct current defibrillator after becoming a cardiologist and research doctor, according to WGME.
Yes, a Mainer gets the credit for inventing the life-saving instrument that restarts a heart after it stops beating. But while being included on spending money created by the US Mint can easily be considered an honor, is Dr. Lown getting the shaft?
Truthfully, until this whole story came out about Dr. Lown possibly representing Maine in the US Mint's new rollout, I didn't even know they still made $1 coins. In fact, I literally thought the last time a $1 coin was made was back in 2000 when the US Mint rolled out the Sacagawea $1 coin, in honor of her involvement with the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Apparently, Dr. Lown's possible inclusion is part of the American Innovations coin series. And get this, according to WGME, the coins in this series won't even be circulated — they'll have to be special-ordered through the US Mint.
So, sure. It'd be great to call this an honor, but if the majority of people don't even use cash anymore, let alone $1 coins, and these coins won't be circulated but have to be specially ordered — is it really an honor? Sounds more along the lines of, "If a tree falls in the woods but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
And as far as sounds go, this sounds like a total shaft job for Dr. Lown. You can check out the full page of proofs and design ideas for the $1 coin (that still shockingly exists) that will feature Dr. Lown on the official website for the US Mint.


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