US Coins

Treasury OKs 2023 American Women quarter dollars

Approved designs for the five reverses of the 2023 American Women quarter dollars were announced Aug. 29 by United States Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson.

The five women to be recognized in order of their release are Bessie Coleman, Jovita Idar, Edith Kanaka’ole, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maria Tallchief.

According to U.S. Mint design narratives, Coleman’s quarter dollar design “depicts Bessie Coleman as she suits up in preparation for flight, her expression reflective of her determination to take to the skies, the only place she experienced a freedom she did not have on the ground.”

The Coleman design was rendered by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Chris Costello and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Eric David Custer. The designer initials of both Costello and Custer will appear in the design.

A Mexican American journalist, suffragist and civil rights activist, Idar is illustrated “with her hands clasped. Within her body are inscriptions representing some of her greatest accomplishments and the newspapers for which she wrote.” The required coinage inscriptions are also contained within the body design.

The Idar design was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist John P. McGraw.

AIP Designer Emily S. Damstra designed and United States Mint Medallic Artist Renata Gordon sculpted the approved design featuring Kanaka’ole, an indigenous Hawaiian composer, chanter, dancer, teacher, and entertainer.

The design illustrates Kanaka’ole, “with her hair and lei po’o (head lei) morphing into the elements of a Hawaiian landscape, symbolizing Kanaka’ole’s life’s work of preserving the natural land and traditional Hawaiian culture.”

The approved 2023 quarter dollar reverse design depicting first lady Eleanor Roosevelt features “a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt and the scales of justice against a backdrop representing the globe, symbolic of her impactful work with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The design was created by AIP designer Donald Everhart II, who retired from the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff as lead sculptor-engraver in 2017. Everhart’s design was sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Craig A. Campbell.

The Tallchief design was rendered by AIP designer Ben Sowards and sculpted by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Joseph F. Menna.

Tallchief was America’s first prima ballerina, breaking barriers as a Native American ballerina. The 2023 quarter dollar design shows “Tallchief spotlit in balletic pose, and her Osage name, which translates to ‘Two Standards,’ written in Osage orthography.”

The common obverse for the four-year, 20-coin American Women American Quarters Program is a portrait of George Washington facing right, originally executed by American sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser in a 1931 design competition for the Washington quarter dollar introduced in 1932.

While Fraser’s design was originally chosen by the Commission of Fine Arts, the panel’s approval was overridden by Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon, who chose the designs of sculptor John F. Flanagan.

Five more American Women quarter dollars each are to be issued in calendar years 2024 and 2025 to complete the series.

The subjects for the final 10 coins in the series are not yet announced.

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