Coin Honors Inventor and the Start of Videogame Tradition

Coin Honors Inventor and the Birth of Videogame Culture
Jens Wolf/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Pictures + CoinWeek

Two passion worlds–numismatics and videogames–collide on New Hampshire’s American Innovation $1 cash, rolls and baggage of that are slated for launch June 15


By Chris Bulfinch for CoinWeek …..

The upcoming New Hampshire American Innovation $1 coin honors Ralph Baer, an engineer and inventor hailed as “The Father of Video Video games”. This represents a primary for the U.S. Mint, which has by no means earlier than struck a coin particularly honoring video video games or sport builders. Gross sales of 25-coin rolls and 100-coin baggage of New Hampshire’s American Innovation greenback will start June 15, the second of 4 American Innovation {dollars} to be launched in 2021.

Life and Legacy

Ralph Baer just isn’t solely within the Nationwide Museum of American Historical past, he’s American historical past; his story is America’s story

Ralph Baer was born in Pirmasens, a small metropolis in southwestern Germany, in 1922. He skilled antisemitic discrimination early in his life, being expelled from faculty in 1933 and compelled to attend an all-Jewish campus. His household fled persecution by the Nazis two months earlier than Kristallnacht in 1938, emigrating to America and settling in New York Metropolis.

Baer graduated from the Nationwide Radio Institute in 1940 and was drafted into the U.S. Military in 1943. He served as an intelligence officer, specializing in small arms.

He then graduated from the American Tv Institute of Know-how in 1949 and took plenty of jobs with electronics corporations. In 1951, he prompt {that a} game-playing characteristic be added to televisions, however his bosses weren’t .

In 1956, Baer took a place with Sanders Associates, a Nashua, New Hampshire-based protection contractor. Ten years later, within the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York Metropolis, Baer says inspiration struck. He drafted a couple of pages outlining a “sport field” that will permit individuals to play video games on their televisions.

A lot of his superiors at Sanders have been skeptical, however he and two different engineers got a $2,500 finances and a small workspace and set about creating the “Brown Field”, a online game console that was licensed to Magnavox and launched because the Odyssey in 1972. The brand new know-how proved deeply influential and was licensed to different corporations; the Odyssey is extensively thought to be the ancestor of present-day online game consoles.

In its obituary for Baer in 2014, the New York Occasions quoted online game historian Keith Feinstein, who known as Baer’s work “the start of a revolution in thought.”

Baer acquired quite a few awards for his groundbreaking work, together with the Nationwide Medal of Know-how, which he was awarded by President George W. Bush in 2006.

Baer’s achievements weren’t restricted to the realm of video video games. He designed shopper electronics and plenty of digital toys and video games. He was admitted to the Nationwide Inventors Corridor of Fame in 2010, receiving greater than 150 patents over the course of his profession.

Baer died in Manchester, NH on the age of 92. A statue honoring him was erected in Manchester’s Arms Park in 2019 and the encircling space was renamed Baer Sq..

Baer’s “Lab” Exhibit on the Smithsonian Establishment. Picture: Smithsonian Establishment.

An exhibit recreating Baer’s lab is ready up within the Smithsonian proper outdoors the numismatic exhibit. Baer’s documentary archive and {hardware} prototypes have been within the Smithsonian’s collections since 2006. The Smithsonian will create the Ralph H. Baer Endowment in 2022 to honor the centennial of his start; in keeping with the web site of the Lemelson Heart for the Examine of Invention and Innovation, “funds generated by the Baer Endowment will assist invention training by way of the Lemelson Heart… on the Nationwide Museum of American Historical past.”

The Lemelson Heart’s Director Emeritus, Artwork Molella, described Baer’s significance: “Ralph Baer just isn’t solely within the Nationwide Museum of American Historical past, he’s American historical past; his story is America’s story.”

Design of the Coin

New Hampshire’s American Innovation Greenback honors Baer with a design depicting the sport Handball. The Residents Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) really helpful the reverse design that the Treasury adopted at their March 11, 2020 assembly from a gaggle of six proposed designs. Half of the designs used the digitized “handball” motif, whereas two of the others depicted the field or its controllers. One proposed design included Baer himself, taking part in Handball.

The Fee of High quality Arts (CFA), the opposite group consulted by the Mint within the design choice course of, really helpful the design that features Baer, an opinion shared by New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu.

American Innovation $1 Coin Products Honoring New Hampshire Available Beginning June 15

The Mint’s design narrative reads: “The reverse (tails) design depicts Ralph Baer’s brown field sport ‘Handball’ on the proper facet of the coin. The left facet options ‘NEW HAMPSHIRE’ and ‘PLAYER 1’ on an incused background. The inscriptions ‘IN-HOME VIDEO GAME SYSTEM’ and ‘RALPH BAER’ encircle the coin in a textual content that’s meant to pay homage to Baer’s Odyssey sport. The extra inscription is ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.’ The design can also be symbolic of an arcade token.”

New Hampshire’s American Innovation greenback bears Phebe Hemphill’s Statue of Liberty, the sequence’ widespread obverse. A gear-shaped privy mark seems on the obverse beneath “IN GOD WE TRUST,” one other sequence characteristic. The date, mint mark, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” seem on the coin’s edge.

The coin’s Manganese-Brass alloy consists of 88.5 % copper, 6 % zinc, 3.5 % manganese, and a pair of % nickel. The Mint will provide cash struck on the Philadelphia and Denver Mint amenities on June 15. 25-coin rolls are priced at $34.50, 100-coin baggage at $117.50 USD. No product, mintage, or family ordering limits can be utilized.

U.S. Mint Creative Infusion Program artist Christina Hess designed the reverse, which was sculpted by Mint Medallic Artist Eric David Custer.

Governor Sununu mentioned, in keeping with the U.S. Mint’s press launch saying the designs, “Fashionable know-how as we all know it – stretching far past simply video video games – exists due to the developments first imagined and made by Ralph Baer.”

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