WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Mint today announced the launch of the third design in the 50 State Quarters series. The third quarter design of the series honors New Jersey, the third State to ratify the Constitution. The launch of the New Jersey quarters follows release of the Delaware and Pennsylvania quarters which were shipped to Federal Reserve Banks for distribution to commercial banks earlier this year, with quarters honoring Georgia and Connecticut to be released in Summer and Fall of 1999.
“The 50 State Quarters program was launched in January 1999 with much success, and we anticipate growing enthusiasm with the introduction of five new quarters each year for the next ten years,” said U.S Mint Director Philip N. Diehl. “Each new quarter design is produced for only ten weeks, with the launch of the New Jersey quarters signaling the end of production for Pennsylvania quarters. As a result, Americans are checking their pocket change closely to make sure they don’t miss out on collecting each and every one of the designs.”
The New Jersey quarter features George Washington on both the reverse (tails) and obverse (heads) sides of the quarter. The tails design depicts George Washington accompanied by members of the Colonial Army crossing the Delaware River on their way to victories against the British at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. The famed portrait of President George Washington continues to grace the obverse; however, inscriptions have been moved to accommodate the state designs on the reverse. The coin is expected to begin appearing in circulation this summer.
Anticipation for the New Jersey quarter is apparent not only among coin collectors, but also among children of all ages who are learning the value of collecting, state history, and geography all at the same time,” said U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow.
Legislation signed by the President in late 1997 authorized 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 reverse designs celebrating the heritage of each state. 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 final selection. Approval of the final design rests with the Treasury Secretary. The well–known “Eagle” reverse quarter is scheduled to resume in 2009.
The New Jersey quarter design was selected by a coin commission created by Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The selection process was enhanced by the participation of state residents who offered individual ideas and renderings to include in the design.
The 50 State Quarters are 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 banking system. The Federal Reserve orders new quarters to ensure an adequate supply to meet the needs of commerce as commercial banks demand. The Mint projects production of 650 to 750 million quarters of each state design.