The United States Mint on Thursday ceremoniously introduced the 2009 Puerto Rico quarter, which is the second of six commemorative quarters issued in the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program.
US Mint Director Ed Moy was joined by Governor Luis Fortuño in a local ceremony where they celebrated the release and handed out free quarters to children 18 years and younger.
"Puerto Rico’s striking quarter design evokes its tropical beauty, rich history and bi-lingual culture," Moy said. "With San Juan Bay as the background of the coin, the hibiscus flower and 16th century sentry box remind us that Puerto Rico stands for ‘rich port.’"
The quarter-dollar reverse or tails side was designed by US Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna. It depicts a sentry box in Old San Juan overlooking the sea and Puerto Rico’s official flower, the hibiscus. The reverse also includes the inscriptions Isla del Encanto (Island of Enchantment), making it the first U.S. coin to circulate with a phrase in Spanish.
The commemoratives were actually released into circulation Monday, which is also the same day the Mint began offering bags and rolls of Puerto Rico coins to the public. 139 million were struck for circulation, according to Mint 2009 quarter production figures.
DC quarters featuring Duke Ellington were issued in January. Quarters for Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will follow in equal intervals throughout 2009.