Governor Sarah Palin’s office announced as late as last night that she would be spending today at the Alaska State Fair to introduce the newest state quarter into circulation.
Governor Palin had a more important ceremony to attend, however, as she took her place beside Sen. John McCain’s Friday and was selected as his vice presidential candidate.
While Alaska found itself in the national spotlight during the historic political announcement, the ceremonial release of the Alaska commemorative quarter continued as planned.
Standing in for Governor Palin at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer was Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, who was joined by United States Mint Deputy Director Andrew Brunhart.
“The bear gripping a salmon firmly in its jaws as it emerges from rapids captures the essence of your State,” Deputy Director Brunhart said of the Alaska quarter design.
“When Americans pull this coin out of their pockets, they will think of Alaska-America’s last frontier.”
Alaska commemorative quarters actually went into circulation Monday, August 25, when bags and rolls of the coins went on sale at the U.S. Mint’s website and the process of getting the coins into banks and circulating change began.
The Alaska quarter is the 49th, and second to last quarter-dollar released in the United States Mint 50 State Quarters® Program that started in 1999. To date, over 33.7 billion state quarters have been struck.
The Mint indicates about 500 million Alaska quarters will be produced. With that many coins to distribute, it will take about two weeks before most American see any in change.
Now that the Alaska quarter ceremonial launch is over, attention will next move to the Hawaiian commemorative quarter set for release in November.