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Coin of the Month

U.S. Virgin Islands Quarter

Christopher Columbus first saw the Virgin Islands in 1493.   Although he claimed all of them in the name of Spain, it was Denmark who ruled St. Thomas, St. John, and later St. Croix for about two centuries.   Denmark sold them to the United States in 1917.

The trees, flowers, and bird on the U.S. Virgin Islands quarter remind us of the beauty of the tropical islands that make up this territory.   Let's take a closer look at these delights!

  • In the background stand some tyre palm trees.   Palm trees not only add a distinctively tropical look to the landscape, but the tough leaves—called "fronds" on palm trees—are both beautiful and useful.   They can be woven into such items as hats, mats, baskets, roofs, and brooms.
  • The yellow elder flowers shown on this coin get their name from the fact that the plant's leaves resemble those of the elderberry. The plant blooms almost continually in the Virgin Islands tropical heat, where average temperatures range from the 80s (Fahrenheit) in summer to the 60s in winter.   The clusters of sunshine-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers bend the branches with their weight and attract butterflies.
  • The banana quit bird is not only pretty to look at, with its sunny yellow breast, but it's also a friendly bird.   It uses its curved beak to get to the nectar in flowers and also loves sugar water (hence one of its other names, "sugar bird").   It builds round, hollow nests out of the fiber of banana leaves.

Be sure to check out the other information about this quarter's design on the 2009 Quarters page.

—Inspector Collector

Image shows the back of the Virgin Islands quarter with standard inscriptions.
Reverse:  The islands' motto, "United in Pride and Hope," appears among yellow elder flowers, a banana quit bird, some tyre palm trees, and a map of the three main islands.

Image of quarter obverses with standard inscriptions.
Obverse:  All the new quarters show the traditional portrait of George Washington, with some minor changes. The bust is smaller and the legends have been moved. Place your mouse over the image to see the former design.

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