The 2021 North Carolina American Innovation Dollar represented the twelfth regular issue of the series. The coin recognizes the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was the first public institution of higher learning in the United States.
The university was chartered in 1789 and began enrolling students in 1795. It is the only public university within the United States to have held classes and graduated students in the 18th century. It continues to operate as a public flagship research university and is considered to be a Public Ivy, or a public institution which delivers an academic experience similar to private Ivy League universities.
The reverse design features a stack of three text books with the lamp of knowledge atop. The spine of the middle book contains with the words “First Public University” with additional inscriptions reading “United States of America” and “North Carolina”. The reverse was designed by Ronald D. Sanders and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
2021 North Carolina American Innovation Dollar Specifications
- Composition: 88.5% copper, 6% zinc, 3.5% manganese, 2% nickel
- Diameter: 26.5 mm
- Weight: 8.1g
- Thickness: 2.0 mm
- Edge: Lettered