The United States Mint today officially released the design images for new 2009 quarters honoring the District of Columbia and the five United States territories.
With a goal to assist in the selection of the most symbolic quarter design, dozens of quarter finalists were voted on earlier this year by residents in D.C., Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
"Like the 50 State Quarters® Program before it, these new quarters will encourage Americans to appreciate the unique history of the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States," said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. "While we focus on each one’s individuality, we also recognize the common thread that unites us all."
The six new quarters will enter circulating in approximately two-month intervals, with the D.C. quarter up first for a scheduled launch date of late January.
Each obverse ("heads" side) of the coin will depict the current George Washington image. The U.S. Mint statement announcing the designs provides the following descriptions for each quarter:
District of Columbia
The coin’s reverse design features an image of celebrated musician Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington seated at a piano with the inscriptions, DUKE ELLINGTON and JUSTICE FOR ALL, the District’s official motto.
The District of Columbia quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
The second quarter depicts a sentry box in Old San Juan overlooking the sea with a hibiscus, Puerto Rico’s official flower.
Isla del Encanto (Island of Enchantment) is also inscribed on the reverse.
The Puerto Rico quarter reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
The third quarter of 2009, honoring the territory of Guam, includes an outline of the island of Guam, a latte stone-once used as building support in ancient Chamorro society-and a flying proa (a native boat).
Guahan I Tanó ManChamorro (Guam, Land of the Chamorro) is also inscribed on the coin’s reverse.
The Guam quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint AIP Associate Designer David Westwood and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz.
The reverse design features the ava bowl, whisk and staff used in special Samoan ceremonies.
SAMOA MUAMUA LE ATUA (Samoa, God is First), the official motto of American Samoa, is inscribed on the reverse.
The American Samoa quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint AIP Master Designer Stephen Clark and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles Vickers.
United States Virgin Islands
The reverse design features the three major islands that comprise the territory with a Banana Quit (the official bird), a Yellow Cedar (the official flower) and a Tyre Palm, a tree native to the United States Virgin Islands.
United in Pride and Hope, the territory’s official motto, is also inscribed on the reverse.
The United States Virgin Islands quarter reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island
The reverse design features a latte stone on an island with a Carolinian canoe under sail in the lagoon.
Two white Fairy Terns (native birds) are depicted in flight together overhead with a Carolinian Mwar (head lei) comprised of plumeria, langilang (ylang ylang), angagha (peacock flower) and teibwo (pacific basil), framing the design.
The Northern Mariana Islands quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint AIP Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
Designs for each quarter were submitted and recommended through a process determined by the Governors for the District of Columbia and each United States territories. The U.S. Mint reviewed the designs before each Governor recommended a final design based mostly on a resident voting with some using a committee selection process. Both the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts were involved in helping improve designs while the Department of the Treasury approved each.
More information may be read though the US Mint page, The District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarter Program.
The Mint’s announcement of the latest quarter designs is perhaps a final reminder of the conclusion of the 50 State Quarters® Program, which kicked off in 1999 and lasted ten years with more than 34 billion quarters issued.
While not yet law, but expected to be within days with President Bush’s signature, a legislative bill authorizes a multi-year series of National Park quarters for each State, U.S. Territory and the District of Columbia to begin in 2010.