The U.S. Capitol Building

Capital Building - Reverse            Capitol Building - Obverse

This 2017 $1 coin produced by the Pobjoy Mint for The British Virgin Islands is in the shape of the U.S. Capitol Building.

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the Legislative branch of the US Federal Government.  It sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

William Thornton is the man we can thank for this marvel of engineering and as he was born in the British Virgin Island, it makes the Capitol coin a very fitting tribute.

A competition was held in the spring of 1792 with a prize of $500 to see which architect could propose the best design for the building. A late entry from amateur architect William Thornton was the source of the iconic shape that we see today. Thornton was well travelled and gained inspiration for the frontage of the building from east front of the Louvre and the Paris Pantheon.

The first cornerstone of the Capitol was laid by George Washington in 1793 and construction of the 16 acre building continued until 1800.  In 1814, during the War of 1812, the building was partially burned by the British.  Rebuilding began in 1815 and was completed in 1819 with additions made in 1826.


The Capitol Building in 1846                                              The rebuilt dome in the distance in 1872

Upon completion, the famous dome wasn’t as grand as we see it today. After being rebuilt in the 1850s, it now stands three times taller than the original and weighs 4,041 metric tons.

Coin Specifications

Composition:  Nickel Silver

Mintage: 5,000

Image and description courtesy of the Pobjoy Mint (

Images and history of the Capitol Building in 1846 and 1872 courtesy of Wikipedia article on the United States Capitol (

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