Philadelphia — December 7, 1998. U.S. Mint Director Philip N. Diehl and United States Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow today joined Delaware Congressman Michael N. Castle and Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper at the Philadelphia Mint for a strike of the first 50 States Quarter. The quarter,which features a reverse design honoring the State of Delaware, will begin shipment to the Federal Reserve on January 4, 1999.
The public should expect to see the coins in circulation around late spring or summer of 1999.
“With the first design change of a circulating coin since the Bicentennial in 1976, this new series of quarters invites us to learn more about the history of our great states,” said U.S.Treasurer Withrow. “The 50 State Quarters Program™” invites the Governors to submit design concepts that express the unique character, heritage and contributions of their state to the nation.”
The Delaware reverse (“tails”) design depicts Caesar Rodney on horseback making his historic ride to break the tie among Delaware’s delegates for the Declaration of Independence. The other states to be honored in 1999 are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut.
“By enabling all Americans to collect these circulating commemorative quarters out of pocket change,” said Mint Director Philip N. Diehl, “we’ll be able to share the joys of coin collecting and expand the traditional educational role of coins nationwide. And in the near future, we will announce the annual uncirculated, proof and silver proof sets that will include the 50 State Quarters.”
The famed portrait of President George Washington will continue to grace the obverse (“heads”); however,inscriptions have been moved to accommodate the State designs on the reverse. The Eagle reverse is scheduled to resume in 2009.
Public Law 105–124, signed by President Clinton at the end of 1997, authorizes the Mint to honor the 50 states in the order they entered the Union or ratified the Constitution by producing five quarters each year from 1999 through 2008 with new reverse designs. The design process for each quarter is determined within each state by the Governor before design concepts are sent to the Mint, and then returned to the states for their final selection. Approval of the final design rests with the Treasury Secretary.
The 50 State Quarters will be manufactured at both the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, which produce all legal tender U.S. circulating coins, before being shipped to the Federal Reserve for distribution through the commercial banking system. The Mint projects production for each 50 State Quarter will range from 500 million to 700 million.