US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for April 12, 2021: American Women quarters

Jerrie Cobb was one of the most honored aviators of her time and a member of the Mercury 13, women who went through the same training as the men who sought to enter the Mercury space program. She would be an excellent candidate for the American Women quarter dollar program.

Original image courtesy of NASA.

You may recall that we were not big proponents of a new multiple-coin series honoring women in America. Not that the topic is undeserving (it is), but because collectors are reporting design exhaustion.

Congress, apparently without consulting the collector community, passed comprehensive coinage legislation in 2020 that includes a provision for a 20-coin program of quarter dollars honoring the accomplishments and contributions of American women. Those accomplishments are worth noting on coinage, and the Mint is preparing to show potential designs for the five candidates to be honored in 2022.

If I were responsible for this program, the first ground rule I’d set would be to rule as ineligible any woman already honored, whether it be on a circulation coin or a commemorative coin. With that in mind, here are my personal recommendations for some future candidates for honor on the American Women quarter dollars.

Nellie Bly, 1864 to 1922, was a pioneering journalist. She arguably created investigative journalism in 1887 when she feigned mental illness so she could enter the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island, New York City. Her story, published in book form as Ten Days in a Mad-House, led to changes in the treatment of the mentally ill.

Jerrie Cobb, 1931 to 2019, was one of the most honored aviators in history, setting numerous records flying aircraft. She was one of the Mercury 13, an effort to show that women could stand the rigors of space travel just as well as men. According to NASA, “Cobb passed all the training exercises, ranking in the top 2% of all astronaut candidates of both genders.”

Katharine Hepburn, 1907 to 2003, is widely considered the greatest actress of the Golden Age of film-making. She had a long and distinguished career as an actress over many decades, winning many awards.

Adm. Grace Hopper, 1906 to 1922, was an admiral in the U.S. Navy and a pioneering computer programmer. She received a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Barbara Jordan, 1936 to 1996, was a lawyer, educator, politician; a Civil Rights movement leader; and first southern Black woman elected to the U.S. House. She, too, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Who do you like for the coins?


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