50-State Quarter Plan to Wrap
Up in '08 By MARTIN CRUTSINGER,
AP Economics Writer
Tue Nov 27, 6:59 PM ET
A grizzly bear clutching a salmon, the Grand Canyon at
sunrise and a scissortail flycatcher in flight. Those
striking images will be on the final batch of state quarters
as the most successful coin program in history draws to
The U.S. Mint on Tuesday unveiled the final five designs
for the state quarters with the first one, honoring Oklahoma,
to be put into circulation in late January with the other
four following at 10-week intervals after that.
These handout artist renderings provided
by the U.S. Mint show the designs for the final five
quarters in the Mint's 50-state quarter program. The
designs, from left are, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona,
Alaska and Hawaii. (AP Photo/US Mint)
The states have been honored in the order
they were admitted to the union, starting with Delaware. It
was honored with a quarter in 1999. The effort kicked off
a collecting craze unlike anything ever seen before in the
Based on a 2005 survey, Mint officials estimate 147 million
people have gotten involved in collecting the quarters with
their constantly changing designs.
"The American people have made the 50 state quarters
the most successful coins in United States history,"
said Mint Director Ed Moy.
The final five coins will start with Oklahoma, which entered
the union in 1907. It will feature the state bird, the scissortail
flycatcher, and the state wildflower, the Indian blanket.
That will be followed by a Zia sun symbol for New Mexico,
which entered the union on Jan. 6, 1912. Arizona, admitted
on Feb. 14, 1912, will be represented by the Grand Canyon
and a saguaro cactus.
Alaska's coin will feature a grizzly bear wading in a stream
with a salmon in its mouth while the Hawaii coin depicts King
Kamehameha. Alaska and Hawaii were the last states to join
the union in 1959.
Through the first eight years of the program, the Mint produced
31.2 billion quarters. Moy said about 20 billion of those
quarters were due to the popularity of the changing designs
which attracted collectors in record numbers.
It costs the government around 9 to 10 cents to make a quarter,
but the Mint sells the coins at face value. The increased
production has amounted to an estimated $3.8 billion in extra
profits for the government.
"It is one of those rare programs that actually made
money for the federal government," said Rep. Michael
Castle, R-Delaware, the original sponsor of the state quarter
The quarters are scheduled to revert back to their pre-1999
designs after next year. George Washington will remain on
the "heads" side of the coin, but the "tails"
side where the state designs had been placed will once again
feature an American eagle.
Collectors who are missing some states should not lose heart
since the coins already produced should remain in circulation
for about 30 years.