The 50 States quarter program proved Americans like change. From the
outset in 1999, the public embraced the new designs, providing
undeniable proof the mindset long engrained at the United States
Treasury that insisted Americans would find new circulating designs
confusing and therefore reject them was premised on nothing more than
Rep. Michael Castle, R-Del.,
shepherded through Congress legislation that became Public Law
105-124, a 10-year initiative commemorating each of the 50 United
States with a reverse on the circulating Washington quarter
During the 10 years of issue (1999 to 2008) the
U.S. Mint reported that more than 140 million Americans were
collecting the 50 State quarter dollars. And at its conclusion in
2008, the series was hailed as the most successful coinage program in
the history of the U.S. Mint.
COIN VALUES: See how much Washington quarter coins are worth today
State quarters were struck for general circulation, but they were
also offered in a multitude of collector products in different
finishes in both the copper-nickel clad alloy and 90 percent silver.
The U.S. Mint produced five new reverse designs each year in 10-week
intervals in the order the states entered the union.
modified version of John Flanagan's portrait of George Washington
serves as the common obverse. To accommodate state designs on the
reverse, the legends united states of america, quarter dollar,
liberty, and IN GOD WE TRUST all appear on the obverse. Each reverse
design has a different theme and carries the name of the state being
honored, the year it entered the union and the year it was
States chose a variety of ways to decide upon
appropriate themes and design concepts, from public competitions to
committee recommendations. The U.S. Mint reviewed design concepts for
coinability and both the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the
Commission of Fine Arts provided recommendations regarding the
artistic merits and historic appropriateness. Ultimately each reverse
design was recommended by the governor of the state being honored with
final selection by the secretary of the Treasury.
final design were rendered by U.S. Mint sculptor-engravers, contracted
designers or Artistic Infusion Program artists contracted by the Mint
from design concepts or word descriptions.
Keep reading from our "Know Your U.S. Coins" series:
Cents and half cents:
2- and 3-cent coins:
Dimes and half dimes: