DC Quarter Designs Include Motto: “Taxation Without Representation”


DC License Plate2009 will see six new quarter-dollar coins in the District of Columbia and United States Territories Circulating Quarter Dollar Program. Development of the coin designs are already in motion. And with that, it would appear to some that the District of Columbia would like to rock the boat or at least shake it a little.

On Monday, the District of Columbia forwarded three coin design proposals to the United States Mint. While each were unique, all three had at least one thing in common – the words “Taxation Without Representation.”

In a press release titled, District Submits Proposed Design Narratives for New Quarter Coin, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty commented:


"The new quarter will teach people across the country about our city and its history. It’s my hope that those who don’t know about our disenfranchisement will soon learn about it when they’re paying a toll or buying a soda."


"Taxation without representation" was a phrase first used during the period of 1763-1776 by colonists against Britain. The spirit of those words are now felt by many D.C. residents. As the U.S. Constitution dictates, they do not have full representation in the United States Congress or other direct state rights.

In a very visible reminder of how many D.C. residents feel about their situation, “Taxation without representation” is affixed to their license plates.

Proposed DC quarter design details

Approximately 350 quarter design suggestions were offered. The three design proposals selected and sent to the Mint depict:

  • The “Stars and Bars” of the District flag, which originated from the Washington family crest some 600 years ago
  • Astronomer and mathematician Benjamin Banneker
  • And world-renowned musician Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington

Mayor Fenty’s letters to U.S. Mint Director Edmund Moy are available in PDF format.


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