Nashville, Tennessee — Governor Don Sundquist today joined U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore and Treasurer of the United States Rosario Marin at the Country Music Hall of Fame to unveil the 16th state quarter in the 50 State Quarters Program, honoring the musical heritage of the “Volunteer State.”
Tennessee became the 16th state to be admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. The new coin features a trumpet, a fiddle, a guitar, and several musical notes, symbolizing the State’s many contributions to American music, with the inscription “Musical Heritage.” Similarly, Tennessee’s state flag has three stars representing each region of the State.
“From folk to blues to country and western, Tennessee musicians have made enduring contributions to our nation’s musical heritage,” said Fore. “It is fitting that the Tennessee quarter honors the instruments, people and traditions that have so enriched American culture.” She added that Tennesseans should be proud of this coin and the place it now takes as the 16th state in the 50 State Quarters Program.
Governor Sundquist selected the final design after the Tennessee Coin Commission received and reviewed more than 1,000 design suggestions from across the state. The final design, which was approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, features musical instruments representing the State’s three major musical genres — a fiddle, representing the Appalachian music of East Tennessee; a guitar, symbolizing the country music of Nashville in Central Tennessee; and a trumpet, reflecting the blues of West Tennessee for which Memphis is renowned. The winning design was submitted by Shawn Stookey, a teacher at Lakeview Elementary in New Johnsonville, Tenn.
“This is an exciting time for Tennessee as we begin the New Year by celebrating our State’s rich history and showcasing it to the world through this distinctive quarter,” said Governor Sundquist. “Our quarter reflects our State’s diverse musical heritage that thrives in Tennessee’s three grand divisions.”
“With the trying times our nation has recently endured,” said U.S. Treasurer Marin, “the Volunteer State embodies the American spirit of serving one’s country and helping one’s neighbor. With that in mind, I am especially proud to be in the great State of Tennessee to honor this new state quarter.”
Hundreds of Tennesseans attended the launch ceremony held in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Ford Motor Company Theatre. The Hillsboro High School Sophisticats kicked off the event, which included remarks from Gov. Sundquist, Mint Director Fore, U.S. Treasurer Marin and performances by singers Isaac Hayes, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Ruby Wilson. Following the ceremony, an open house was held at the State Capitol from 1– 3 p.m.
The release of the Tennessee quarter marked the end of production of the Kentucky quarter, released in October 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. Each quarter is produced for about 10 weeks and will never be produced again. Surveys show that over 125 million adults are collecting the quarters.
The 50 State Quarters products, including the popular collectible proof sets featuring the five state quarters of each year, 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 Mint is a manufacturing and international marketing enterprise with $2.4 billion in annual revenue and about 2,800 employees. In FY 2001, the Mint produced approximately 24 billion coins, fulfilling its primary mission to produce an adequate supply of circulating coinage for the nation’s commerce. For more information, please visit www.usmint.gov.