ANNAPOLIS, MD. — U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow today joined Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening and Senator Paul S. Sarbanes at the State House for the unveiling of the newest design in the 50 State Quarters™ Program, honoring the state of Maryland. The U.S. Mint, which today began shipping the Maryland quarter to Federal Reserve banks for distribution to commercial banks and financial institutions, is scheduled to produce more than one billion of the new quarters to keep pace with public demand for the new quarters.
Joining Treasurer Withrow, Governor Glendening and Senator Sarbanes, were Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy–Townsend, Congressman Benjamin L. Cardin, U.S. Mint Associate Director of Numismatics David Pickens, Maryland State Treasurer Richard Dixon and members of the Maryland Coin Advisory Committee. Governor Glendening also invited a class of fifth graders from Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring to join him at the State House event. The students were honored for being among the first participants in the design process for the Maryland quarter.
“We are very proud to launch this new Maryland commemorative quarter today,” said Governor Parris N. Glendening. “The quarter, which honors our magnificent State House, will be a lasting reminder of our State’s rich heritage and its unique place in American history. Among its many distinctions, Maryland’s capitol building is the oldest working state house in the country, and the only state house to have served as the nation’s capitol. This new quarter will be cherished by generations of Marylanders to come.”
Selected by the Governor Glendening’s Coin Design Committee, the Maryland quarter design honors the site of today’s event — the historic Maryland State House dome in Annapolis. On the quarter’s reverse (tails) side, the state house dome is surrounded by the moniker “The Old Line State” and balanced on both sides by oak leaf clusters. The Maryland state house is the oldest working state house in the country, and the only state house in the country ever to have served as the nation’s capitol.
“The 50 State Quarters program is an opportunity for all Americans to become involved in the design process of the coins we use every day,” said Director of the U.S. Mint Philip N. Diehl. “Americans should start looking for Maryland quarters in circulation by late spring.”
With the shipment of Maryland quarters, the “retired” quarter designs (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) continue to circulate in pocket change and are available in collectors’ editions, but are no longer being produced. The quarters that will be produced later this year under the 50 State Quarters™ will honor South Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia.
“The demand and excitement over the new quarters has exceeded our expectations, and we encourage all Americans to start their collections now before we run out of these special quarters,” 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 50 State Quarters Program coins 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 Program and how to collect the new quarters, visit the Mint’s web site at www.usmint.gov.