Coins For 20th Century States

Last February I posted on the 2007 state quarter designs. I finally got a Utah in pocket change last night at the ice cream place. I still think a beehive would’ve been better.

We’ve gone the longest in US history without adding a new state, and it doesn’t look like 2009 will see any new quarters, so this appears to be the end of the state quarter run. It doesn’t seem long ago I first found Caesar Rodney on the flip side of GW and wondered why I hadn’t heard about coin redesign.

Oklahoma: state bird and state wildflower. Not original, but a nice presentation.

New Mexico: state outline is also not an original idea, but the superimposed sun symbol makes for a nice presentation.

Arizona’s design looks too busy to me. As a commemorative painted dinner plate, I’m sure it would be a lovely eight or even nine. But these are quarters, after all.

If memory serves, bear snacking on salmon is the first depiction of an active carnivore on a quarter. I think the design would be improved without the steep riverbank: just bear, fish, and water.

This kind of minimalism heads in the right direction.

On a zero-to-ten scale, I’d rate these in order: 7, 7, 2, 5, 7. What would you say?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Coins For 20th Century States

  1. Liam says:

    The OK coin is the only worthy one of the lot. The AZ takes bottom honors – way too busy and unfocused. NM & HA are inoffensive. AK is a missed opportunity.

    BTw, there is pending legislation to extend the run through 2009 to add DC, PR, VI, Guam, American Samoa and Micronesia to the run. Too bad it’s too late for the Canal Zone (always loved those stamps).

    Of the entire series to date, I would give top honors to MS & CT for beauty. (MA would have ranked highly had it submitted the gorgeous Old Ironsides design rather than the lackluster Minuteman design.) NB, KA & OR were nicely done, too.

    Bottom honors would go to WI, with TN, IN, OH and MO runners up.

    “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag….”

  2. Todd says:

    Interesting that you mention Mississippi, which I did think was good. It was the only coin of the series designed by Mint personnel; the state’s governor never got on the ball with a design committee or competition, and ceded the whole thing to the Feds.

  3. Liam says:

    I didn’t know that, but it’s professionalism showed up everything else.

    I am not a fan of amateur numismatic design, I guess. And I feel that a lot of our more recent designs have been amateurish. About the only novelty I like is the 3/4 profile of Jefferson obverse with bison on the reverse (a beautiful coin). The new President (awful portraits, and the Liberty looks like a NYC advertising poster shot) and First Ladies (the Liberties are better than the First Ladies taken from forward-facing portraits) series looks amateurish, too.

    Basically, for images of real persons, I think profiles work best, 3/4 profile minimum.

    Could we please retire the Kennedy half-dollar (we should forbid depicting people within 50 years of their death – too political)? 2006 would have been a nice time to put Franklin on it for a couple of years.

    Could we bring back the design of the 1921 Peace Dollar coin for a good dollar coin? They chose the wrong Sacagawea design (the profile design that was not chosen was nobler).

  4. Liam says:



  5. Dale Price says:


    I pretty much agree, except for the New Mexico one. Too spartan, even when you factor out the rococo coin of its neighbor.

  6. hearthealth says:

    People are really up in arms against some of the design. But surely they got to be the winners of some design making contest or something?
    dollar coin collecting

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