Rhode Island’s American Innovation Dollar Coin commemorates the yacht Reliance, designed by naval architect Nathanael Herreshoff. In 1903, the US defender Reliance won the prestigious America’s Cup sailing competition.
Cornelius Vanderbilt III led a group of nine New York Yacht Club members who funded the impressive yacht. The Reliance was designed to be pushed to the fullest extent, though the vessel had to be operated under certain conditions according to the Seawanhaka 90-foot rule. The rule was last used during America’s Cup races in 1903. However, there was a loophole in the 90-foot rating rule that allowed designers to create a racing yacht with long overhangs at both ends, increasing her waterline length (and speed) when tipped.
The bare frame of the ship was exposed to save weight since the below deck was unfinished. Reliance had winches underneath decks, while her competitors relied on sheer force. Since the sail plan was large, there were 64 crew members aboard. She measured 201 feet from the mast tip to her bowsprit and 108 feet to the end of her boom. Additionally, she had an 84-foot spinnaker pole and a sail area equal to eight 12-meter yachts (16,160 square feet). The Reliance’s design had one goal in mind: successfully defending America’s Cup.
Her racing career was short, but she was undefeated. William Fife’s Shamrock III, designed by Sir Thomas Lipton, lost all three races to her, losing by a wide margin in the third that she had to retire. Reliance’s designer Nathanael Herreshoff proposed the Universal Rating Rule right away so that such dangerous, expensive, and extreme vehicles would never compete again. Reliance’s victory resulted from both Charlie Barr’s outstanding sailing skills and the design of their yacht. For the sake of peace, Lipton proposed swapping crews with Reliance’s owners after the race. Despite her success, the Reliance was scrapped in 1913 after a short career.
American Innovation Dollar Characteristics
In profile, the Statue of Liberty appears on the obverse (heads) of the coin. The front also features a stylized gear as a privy mark, representing industry and innovation.
As seen from the reverse (tails), Nathanael Herreshoff’s Reliance yacht is speeding through the waters around Rhode Island. The nautical theme is highlighted by the ropes bordering the design.
2022 Rhode Island Reliance Yacht – American Innovation Dollars
Authorizing Legislation: H.R. 770, American Innovation $1 Coin Act
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Dollar Obverse Inscriptions
In God We Trust
Dollar Reverse Inscriptions
United States of America
Incused Edge Inscriptions
E Pluribus Unum
Mint & Dollar Mint Marks
Denver and Philadelphia in Business Strikes
San Francisco in Proof and Reverse Proof Strikes
Available Dollar Mint Strikes
Business, Proof & Reverse Proof
American Innovation Dollar Specifications
Composition: 88.5% Copper, 6% Zinc, 3.5% Manganese and 2% Nickel
Weight: 8.1 grams
Edge: Incused Letter
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