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Making Cents - All the news that's fit to mint! - What's news at the United States Mint!

Welcome to the fall 2008 issue of Making Cents, the online newsletter that tells you what's new and striking at the United States Mint.  Be sure to check back every 3 months for a new issue.

Image shows a montage of fall holiday images.

Fall Festivities

Fall is a good time for celebrations.  Fresh from Constitution Day in September and our special Consititution Day page, we begin October celebrating Christopher Columbus with our Columbus Day page.

Later in the month, the Halloween page will give you some creepy thrills, plus a cool costume guessing game.  November ushers in Veterans Day, which of course has its own page, and the Thanksgiving Day page rounds out the month.  All these pages give a little holiday history and point you to coins that relate to the events these holidays celebrate.  Click on over and see what all the fuss is about!

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A Golden Oldie from Goldie

Image shows Goldie holding a half eagle.

What's a half eagle?  It's a gold coin valued at five dollars.  Though you may never have seen one, these half eagles have been made by the United States Mint for more than two centuries now!  People no longer spend gold coins every day, but they're still made for collecting in the form of bullion coins and commemoratives.

In October, Goldie presents information about the very first half eagle...the first US coin of any denomination that was made of real gold.  Find out how this coin with its yellow metal was affected by the disease called yellow fever in the October Coin of the Month!

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Quarters of the Quarter:  Alaska and Hawaii

Image shows parts of the Alaska and Hawaii quarters.

The fourth quarter of 2008 brings the year to a close...and not only the year but the 10-year-long 50 State Quarters® Program too!  The program ends with the designs honoring the 49th and 50th states, Alaska and Hawaii.

The bear on Alaska's quarter reminds us that many, many bears live in Alaska, along with the salmon they love.  You can read more about it on the Alaska quarter page and as the September Coin of the Month.

Hawaii's quarter features the state's main islands and a man who was their king before the island chain became a state.  Read more on the Hawaii quarter page and the November Coin of the Month.

And since we're talking about Alaska and Hawaii's something you may not know about how these states affected the American flag.

Alaska and Hawaii both became states in 1959, but several months apart.  You might think that would mean adding two stars to the flag in that year.  But there was a catch.

According to a law passed in 1818, a star could be added to the flag for every new state, but only on the 4th of July after the state's admission into the Union.  Since Alaska was admitted in January, its star was added in July of 1959.  But since Hawaii was admitted in August, its star had to wait almost a year, until July of 1960.

That means the flag of the United States once had 49 stars—but for only one year—from July 4, 1959 to July 3, 1960.  (The previous flag of 48 stars had been standard since Arizona joined the Union in 1912.)  Executive Orders from President Eisenhower specified how the 49 and 50 stars were to be arranged on the flag.

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Fall 2008 Crossword

We hope you've enjoyed this issue of Making Cents!  Click to see and print out the crossword puzzle.  Most of the words in the puzzle are used in this issue, so you should already have a clue!

Check your answers with the answer key.

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