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Frequently Asked Questions about the Quarters

Frequently Asked Questions
Learn about the 50 State Quarter® Program from the U.S. Mint


What is the 50 State Quarters® Program?

It's a program that honors the individual 50 states that comprise the United States through a new series of circulating quarters being issued over the next decade.

Why are the quarter designs being changed?

According to Public Law 105-124, "Congress finds that it is appropriate and timely to honor the unique Federal Republic of 50 States that comprise the United States; and to promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the individual states, their history and geography, and the rich diversity of the national heritage..." and to encourage "young people and their families to collect memorable tokens of all of the States for the face value of the coins."

Where will the coins be minted?

The circulating commemorative quarters will be produced at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The proof versions will be produced at the San Francisco Mint.

Have there been any similar programs in recent history?

The U.S. Mint produced Bicentennial quarters, half dollars and dollars with special Bicentennial reverse designs in 1975 and 1976.

Will any circulating commemorative quarters be issued to honor the territories and other possessions of the United States?

Public Law 105-124 provides that "If any additional State is admitted into the Union before the end of the 10-year period . . .the Secretary of the Treasury may issue quarter dollar coins, in accordance with this subsection, with a design which is emblematic of such state during any 1 year of such 10-year period, in addition to the quarter dollar coins issued during such year" in accordance with the authorizing legislation.

How is this program funded?

The 50 State Quarters® Program is self-supported.

What will the 50 State Quarters® Program cost U.S. taxpayers?

Nothing. In fact, the U.S. Government will make money on the 50 State Quarters® Program. The cost to manufacture a quarter is about 5 cents, providing a profit of approximately 20 cents per coin. Mint profits go to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury to help fund U.S. Government operations, reduce the need for new or higher taxes, and reduce the Federal Government's debt. No tax revenues will be used in either the manufacture or the promotion of the state quarters. All costs are funded from the Mint's earned revenue.

How often will the reverse of the coin change?

Five reverse designs will appear each year for 10 years.


How will the designs be selected? May I submit design ideas (graphics) for the design of the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program?

State Quarter Designs will be selected and approved by the process established by Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin on January 9, 1998, in accordance with Public Law 105-124. In this process, governors will be invited to submit design concepts or themes that represent their states. We suggest you contact the office of your state governor about submitting design ideas or graphics. Drawings of the various concepts will be reviewed by the Mint, the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, and the Fine Arts Commission, and then sent to the Secretary of the Treasury for final review and approval. The Secretary of the Treasury will select between three and five candidate designs which will be forwarded to the state governor's office for final selection through a process determined by the governor. Last, the Secretary of the Treasury will give the final approval to the selected design for each state. See also Design Criteria.

What is the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee?

Established by Congress, this committee advises Congress on commemorative coin themes, mintage levels and years of issue, and advises the Secretary of the Treasury on commemorative coin designs. It is composed of seven members: three from the numismatic community, three from the general public, and one from the U.S. Mint. A member of the Commission of Fine Arts may participate as a non-voting member. Members are appointed for four-year terms.

What is the U.S. Fine Arts Commission?

Congress established the U. S. Fine Arts Commission as an independent agency in 1910 to advise the government on matters of art and architecture that affect the appearance of the nation's capital. The President appoints seven members for four-year terms. The Commission also advises the U.S. Mint on the designs of coins and medals and is responsible generally for advising on questions of art from the President or Congressional committees.

Will any changes be made on the quarter's traditional inscriptions?

All current inscriptions will appear on the quarter. The 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act did not affect the current statutory requirement that United States coins shall have the inscriptions "In God We Trust", "Liberty," "United States of America," and "E Pluribus Unum," as well as a designation of the value of the coin and the year of minting or issuance. Three of the inscriptions ("United States of America", "E Pluribus Unum" and a designation of the value) are required to be placed on the reverse of each coin . However, on May 29, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-176, which allows for any inscription or inscriptions currently required to be on the reverse of the quarter to be repositioned on the obverse of the new quarters. This law was enacted to provide for greater creative flexibility in developing the state designs. See our page on the New Quarter Obverse Design for more information.

Are there limitations to what can be placed on the coins?

Regarding designs for the quarters' reverse, Public Law 105-124 specifies that "no portrait of a living person shall be included in any design," prohibits any "head and shoulder portrait or bust of any person, living or dead," and gives the Secretary of the Treasury final approval of each design, with the direction that he "shall not select any frivolous or inappropriate design."

Suitable subject matter for design concepts include state landmarks (natural and man-made), landscapes, historically significant buildings, symbols of state resources or industries, official state flora and fauna, state icons (e.g., Texas Lone Star, Wyoming bronco, etc.), and outlines of states. State flags and seals are not considered suitable.

Will the coins be issued in any type of sequence?

States will be honored with a reverse quarter design in the order in which such States ratified the Constitution of the United States or were admitted into the Union.


Will the coins be circulated throughout the United States?

The 50 State Quarters® will be produced at both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints and distributed by the Federal Reserve through commercial banks throughout the country just as regular circulating quarters are today.

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