In 1999 the first five of the ’50 State Quarters’ were released by the U.S. Mint. Here’s a guide and a little history about those first five coins…
The ’50 State Quarters’ program was designed to honor the individual 50 states that comprise the United States through a series of circulating quarters being issued from 1999 to 2008. They are being released in the same order that the states joined the union.
Over 300 submissions were received, suggesting designs for Delaware’s state quarter. The selected concept came from an art and drama teacher who worked at Caesar Rodney High School. It depicts the historic horseback ride of Caesar Rodney.
Caesar Rodney was a delegate to the Continental Congress. On the first of July, 1776, Rodney battled poor health and dangerous weather conditions to ride his horse 80 miles to Philadelphia. He arrived at independence Hall just in time to cast the deciding vote for our nation’s independence. In addition to being a soldier, a judge, and a speaker of Delaware’s Assembly, Rodney is also noted for having held more public offices than any other Delaware citizen.
All Pennsylvanians were welcomed to submit design ideas for their state quarter, and more than 5,300 of them did so. After a committee narrowed the choices to just four, Governor Tom Ridge choose the final design.
Pennsylvania’s quarter depicts the statue ‘Commonwealth’. The real-life version of that statue has been atop the state capitol dome in Harrisburg since 1905. Her right arm is said to be extended in kindness while her left arm grasps a ribbon mace to symbolize justice. To one side, the image of the keystone honors Pennsylvania’s state nickname, ‘The Keystone State’.
New Jersey’s quarter depicts General George Washington with the Colonial Army crossing the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. The design is based on the 1851 painting by Emmanuel Leutze, entitled ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’. Washington’s army took their opponents by surprise and took over 900 of them prisoner in surprise attacks (on Trenton and Princeton) that night in 1776.
A 15 member commission, selected for their backgrounds in history, art, and numismatics began the selection process. New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman approved the final design of New Jersey’s state quarter. It is the first circulating coin to feature Washington on both sides.
Georgia’s design features the peach prominently, as well as the state tree, the Live Oak. The state motto, ‘Wisdom, Justice, Moderation’ is printed across the top.
Georgia’s Governor, Zell Miller, selected the design from just a handful of designs. The Georgia Council for the Arts submitted just five designs, one of which was eliminated by the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, prior to Governor Miller’s selection.
Connecticut’s state quarter depicts the famous “Charter Oak”, an strong symbol of Connecticut’s rich heritage. On October 31, 1687, a British representative for King James II challenged Connecticut’s government structure and demanded its surrender. During the heated discussion, the room’s candles were mysteriously snuffed out. By the time lighten was resumed, the Charter had disappeared off the table. Captain Joseph Wadsworth had hidden the Charter in a white oak tree, saving it from the hands of the British. ‘The Charter Oak’ stood until a storm took it 1856.
More than 112 Connecticut citizens submitted design concepts, and 19 of them contained some rendition of the Charter Oak. The winning coin was selected unanimously by the Connecticut Commemorative Coin Design Compete ion Review Committee, and approved by Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland.
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