Denver Post 3.10.05
Five finalists for the Colorado State Quarter are presented on the front page of today's paper. All depict mountains, even the one the focuses on Mesa Verde National Monument. Only one quarter represents an actual mountain - Pikes Peak. The others are just artist interpretations.
Interesting & humorous article about the conflict that has risen regarding the designs on the state quarters. "This program wasn't suppose to be contentious but it's been nothing but one contretemps after another," says David Ganz.
Representative Michael Castle of Delaware came up with the idea in 1996 to 1) spur coin collecting, 2) celebrate our heritage, and 3) increase profit for the Treasury. Each Governor selects the final design for their state, usually after a panel of experts selects the finalists.
Regarding state designs . . .
Texas had to decide between the Alamo and an armadillo.
Illinois worried whether an ear of corn would confuse their quarter with Nebraska or North Dakota.
Minnesota had an unsuccesful campaign for a loon.
Kansas factions are debating whether to use a native bison or Dorothy & Toto.
Missouri protestors called the St. Louis arch a croquet hoop, and when one faction covered the coins with a sticker with their losing design, the Secret Service had to investigate the charges of defacement of money.
Vermont citizens have called their trees "goalposts."
New Hampshire's cliff design has crumbled and doesn't exist anymore.
Iowa's commission wanted the American Gothic couple but copyrights nixed that. So it was suggested that the Sullivan brothers be used (five WWII servicemen who died), but according to Mint rules there can not be busts on quarters which would compete with Washington's. Iowans settled on Arbor Day, but Nebraska called foul because they are home to the Arbor Day Foundation. One Nebraskan quipped, "That's so typical of Iowa." and wonders why they don't claim the Statue of Liberty while they're at it.
Designs can boost tourism. Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park saw a 15% increase in attendance when a diamond was on their quarter.
Wisonsin's Governor rejected the design of an Indian shaking hands with a trapper in favor of a cow and a wheel of chees, to which one citizen responded, "Just what we need, more cheesehead jokes."
Wisconsin's final design has an ear of corn, which has different numbers of leaves from diferent batches of coins. This error has made Wisconsin a highly collectible coin.
Mintages vary for different states, depending on the economy and the demand for quarters. The quarters in the first couple years have high mintages, but the quarters in subsequent years have lower numbers which reflects the recession. These lower mintages are harder to find and thus more valuable.
The Mint discourages similar-themed quarters, so there's been a competition between states for the space shuttle, light bulb, and Wright brothers. Typically, the earlier (based on date of admission to the Union) quarter will use the design.
There's been competition for the Rocky Mountains, with CO, WY, and MT all claiming those peaks. Wyoming's retired Senator says, "Nobody's taking our Mountains!" but the Colorado legislature laid claim to them. Colorado gets their coin in 2006 and WY and MT follow in 2007, so it appears that CO will get the Rockies.