Littleton Coin Company

Plowing the way into 2024
The Year’s First Innovation Dollar Coin Design Debuts

America in the 1830s was a nation on the move. As citizens began developing western lands and spreading into new territories, the need to cultivate land for agricultural purposes became paramount.

Unlike the sandy soil of the East, prairie lands held stickier ground that was filled with tangles of tougher roots. The standard plows at the time had a hard time breaking through. Plus, the earth would cause clumping around the blade – meaning the operator would need to halt work just to clear the plow before proceeding on.

The man behind the invention

Enter Illinois blacksmith John Lane. He’s widely credited as one of the first people to invent the steel plow. Before this, plows were locally made, usually from wood (with cast iron parts added in the 1800s).

2024 Illinois Innovation Dollar - Littleton Coin Blog

Lane’s plow was crafted from an old sawmill blade. After polishing (to prevent the soil from sticking to the blade) and field testing, Lane put his plow into production. It revolutionized the agriculture industry!

Unfortunately for Lane, he never patented his creation, and instead produced it locally – but for the number he made, Lane’s steel plow was a great success.

Up next

Just a few years later in 1837, John Deere also created a steel plow from a sawmill blade. Deere acquired a patent for his plow and quickly moved it into mass production. Not only did this move greatly advance the farming industry, it also cemented Deere’s name in history as a creator of farming machinery!

The first Innovation dollar coin of 2024 celebrates this revolutionary creation as an invention from Illinois. The blade of a steel plow is shown before Big Bluestem prairie grass on the reverse. In addition to Uncirculated coins from both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, “S” Mint Proofs from San Francisco are also available.

Looking forward into 2024

The remaining 2024 Innovation dollar coin designs will celebrate the Saturn V rocket (AL), the direct current defibrillator (ME), and George Washington Carver (MO). Rounding out this year’s golden dollar collection is the 2024 Native American dollar.

The Innovation dollar series is now in its sixth full year (a single coin kicked off the series in 2018). I’m really enjoying the different designs and the history behind each one… if you’re collecting this series too, I’d love to hear about what you think in the comments section below!

This article was written by Kierstin S.

Since 2000, Kierstin has enjoyed sharing her love of collecting with folks like you.

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