JAMESTOWN, VA — Ten cannon shots were fired at the Jamestown Settlement this morning during a celebration led by Virginia Governor James Gilmore, First Lady Roxane Gilmore, U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow and U.S. Mint Director Jay W. Johnson. The cannon fire marked the launch of the Virginia state quarter — the tenth new coin minted under the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters™ Program.
The event took place in front of replicas of the three ships portrayed on the new coin — the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery — the sailing vessels that brought the first permanent English settlers to Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. During the ceremony, a 50 State Quarters Program sail was unfurled from the mast of the Discovery, as students from classrooms throughout the state received new Virginia quarters. The students were winners of a statewide quiz/contest sponsored by the Governor’s office.
According to U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow, the celebration at Jamestown brought the purpose of the 50 State Quarters Program to life. “The Virginia quarter depicts one of the most significant sites in state and national history. By launching this coin in Jamestown with Governor Gilmore and students from Virginia, we were able to engage a variety of citizens in a celebration of history and heritage,” she said.
In 2007, Jamestown, the first permanent settlement in the United States, will celebrate its 400th anniversary. To commemorate this event, the new quarter design includes the word, “QUADRICENTENNIAL.” The design was created through a collaborative effort from the State Treasurer, Representatives from the Library of Virginia, the Department of Historic Resources, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Department of General Services.
“These coins will circulate throughout the nation for years to come and will stand as a symbol to all Americans that the courage and perseverance of our forefathers began here in Jamestown,” Governor Gilmore said.
The release of the Virginia quarter marks the end of the distribution of the New Hampshire quarter. Each new quarter is minted for approximately ten weeks, after which its is no longer produced. The new 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 further information on the 50 State Quarters™ Program and how to order and collect the new quarters, visit the Mint’s web site at www.usmint.gov or call 1–800–USA–MINT.