Montpelier, VT — The entire country received a taste of Vermont today as the U.S. Mint debuted the 14th state quarter in the 50 State Quarters™ Program. Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore led the national celebration at the Vermont State House in a ceremony that honored an industry that is synonymous with the state’s history — the maple syrup industry.
The quarter honoring the “Green Mountain State” features two maple trees with a view of one of Vermont’s most significant landmarks, Camel’s Hump Mountain and the inscription, “Freedom and Unity.”
“As the nation’s largest producer of maple syrup, it is fitting that the Vermont quarter honors the people and the industry that have contributed so much to the state in its 210–year history,” said Henrietta Holsman Fore, Director of the U.S. Mint. “Vermonters should be proud of the coin and the place it now takes in the 50 State Quarters Program.”
Governor Dean selected the design after an extensive 18–month process led by the Vermont Arts Council. Working with the U.S. Mint, the Council narrowed the proposed designs to three, giving the Governor the final vote in choosing the winner. To help him, the Governor asked Vermonters for their opinions during his public appearances around the state.
“Last summer, as I traveled around talking to Vermonters,” the Governor said, “the maple sugaring scene was everyone’s favorite design throughout the state. I’m happy and proud that it was chosen so clearly by the people of Vermont because it reflects our rural heritage and highlights our beautiful landscape. I’m sure this coin, like our state, will be valued by everyone for a long time.”
Residents from throughout the state participated in the State House launch ceremony. A children’s choir opened the event by singing the new state song. The launch also featured a video telling the story of the quarter design and two students read from their winning essays on the importance of maple syrup in Vermont’s history.
Following the ceremony, the Vermont Department of Agriculture offered a taste of Vermont, selling sugar snow from the Sugar Shack, maple cotton candy, maple creamies and maple popcorn. Buyers at the sale, proceeds from which will benefit the Department’s education fund, received the new Vermont quarter in change.
The release of the Vermont quarter marked the end of production of the Rhode Island quarter, released in May 2001. The quarters are manufactured at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, which produce all U.S. circulating coins and ship them to the Federal Reserve for distribution to the nation’s banks.
Launched in 1999, the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program is a 10–year initiative that honors each of the nation’s states in the order that they joined the Union or ratified the Constitution. Each quarter is produced for about 10 weeks and will never be produced again. Over 125 million adults are collecting the quarters.
The 50 State Quarters products, including the just–released collectible proof sets featuring the five quarters of 2001, are adding to the collecting fun. These products and more information about the 50 State Quarters Program are available through the Mint’s Web site at www.usmint.gov or by calling 1–800–USA–MINT.
Created by Congress in 1792, the U.S. Mint today is the world’s largest manufacturer of coins, medals and coin–based consumer products. In 2000, the Mint produced more than 27 billion coins, fulfilling its primary mission to produce an adequate supply of circulating coinage for the nation’s commerce. The Mint has grown to a Fortune 500–sized manufacturing and international marketing enterprise with more than $3.7 billion in annual revenue and 2,800 employees.