BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci and Lt. Governor Jane Swift were joined today by U.S. Mint Director Philip N. Diehl as they “virtually struck” a Massachusetts state quarter at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, known as the “cradle of liberty” — miles from the Philadelphia Mint where actual production of the quarter honoring the Bay State is already underway.
The first Massachusetts quarters were shipped to the Federal Reserve on January 3 and should begin appearing in pocket change over the winter and spring of this year. More than one billion Massachusetts quarters will be produced to keep pace with public demand for the 50 State Quarters.
The winning Minuteman design concept for the Massachusetts quarter was submitted by Xander Kotsatos, a seventh grader at Belmont Day School, and Kathleen Raughtigan, a sixth grader at St. Bernard’s Elementary School. Also present were the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, and a 20–piece Minuteman Fife and Drum Corp.
“The U.S. Mint is excited to take the 50 State Quarters into the 21st century with the Massachusetts quarter, which pays tribute to a crucial force in the American victory in the war of Independence,” says Diehl. “The young students who submitted The Minuteman design for the Massachusetts quarter show the pride and interest in the history of their country, which is truly the heart of this program.”
The reverse, or “tails,” of the Massachusetts state quarter, executed by U.S. Mint Sculptor/Engraver Thomas D. Rogers, Sr. features The Minuteman in front of the state outline, a star marking the state capital of Boston, and the words “The Bay State.” The famous statue of The Minuteman stands at The Minuteman National Historical Park in Concord, Massachusetts.
“Massachusetts is rich with American history and this new quarter will remind citizens of our state and across the country of Massachusetts’ place in the American Revolution and our nation’s long tradition of protecting freedom and liberty,” said Governor Paul Cellucci. “The Massachusetts quarter is a celebration not only of our state’s history, but also of the birth of our nation.”
History tells us that the Minutemen were signaled of the British troops plan to travel by water on April 18, 1775, when two lanterns were placed in the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston. Captain Parker, the commander of the Minutemen, ordered his troops to, “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon. But, if they need to have a war, let it begin here.”
When the British troops reached Lexington, shooting broke out against the 50 Minutemen on the common, an open square in the center of the town. The British went on toward Concord, where they again met the Minutemen at the Old North Bridge over the Concord River and fired upon them. The Americans fired back, and the war had begun.
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.
Governor Cellucci chose to launch a contest in February 1998 among all Massachusetts elementary school students, asking them to submit their design ideas for the new commemorative coin and providing them with a unique and fun way to participate in this historic event. Massachusetts is the only state in the nation to hold a contest for elementary school students to design the special quarter and the response was overwhelming. More than 100 entries were submitted to the governor’s office by public, private and parochial schools from across the state. Cellucci created a 10–member advisory panel to narrow down the field of entries to five. Governor Cellucci and Lt. Governor Swift announced the Minuteman design in June 1999.
“The two students who submitted the Massachusetts Minuteman design should be proud of their hard work and creativity, which will grace the new Massachusetts quarter,” said Swift. “This contest was an exciting way for all of our elementary school students to play a role in selecting our state’s coin and an unique opportunity to learn about our state’s distinguished history.”
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.
For more information on the 50 State Quarters and how to collect them, visit the Mint’s web site at www.usmint.gov.