Kennedy Space Center, Florida — It was a launch of a different sort for the John F. Kennedy Space Center, as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Bodman and United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore joined Governor Jeb Bush, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe and citizens of the Sunshine State in celebrating the new Florida commemorative quarter–dollar coin.
The Florida quarter design features a space shuttle, a 16th century Spanish galleon and the inscription “Gateway to Discovery.” A strip of land with sabal palm trees is also depicted.
“On behalf of President Bush and Secretary Snow, I am very pleased to participate in this event with Governor Bush, Administrator O’Keefe and Director Fore,” said Deputy Secretary Bodman. “Today we celebrate not only the important role that coins play in our Nation’s economy, but also the many contributions of the great State of Florida to American innovation and to our national spirit of exploration and discovery.”
“Your Florida quarter carries the spirit of exploration in the air, on land, and at sea,” said Director Fore. “It is the spirit of America.”
Children attending the festivities each received a shiny new Florida quarter. Adults were able to exchange their dollars and coins for rolls of Florida quarters furnished by credit union representatives.
“Florida truly is the ‘Gateway to Discovery’,” said Governor Bush. “Our residents should be proud to know that citizens nationwide will now be carrying a symbol of our State’s history — its past and its future.”
The Florida quarter is the second to be issued in 2004, and the 27th quarter in the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state to be admitted into the Union. The dates 1845 and 2004 are both on the reverse of the Florida quarter.
Florida, home to the Kennedy Space Center, has been the starting point for the modern era’s most significant scientific space expeditions — from Man’s first moon landing to the Voyager probe currently exploring deep space outside our solar system. From 16th century Spanish galleons to 21st century space exploration, Florida has been the stage for humanity’s quest for knowledge and discovery.
Florida quarters in two–roll sets and bags are available on the United States Mint’s website at www.usmint.gov, and by calling 1–800–USA–MINT. Lesson plans can also be downloaded from the website. The plans feature the Florida quarter and the 26 previous quarters issued.
Launched in 1999, the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program is a 10–year initiative that honors our Nation’s states in the order they were admitted into the Union or ratified the Constitution. Each quarter is produced for about 10 weeks and will never be produced again. Surveys show that more than 130 million Americans collect the quarters.
Created by Congress in 1792, the United States Mint is the manufacturer of legal tender coinage for the United States. In FY 2003, the United States Mint manufactured approximately 11.4 billion coins and generated gross revenue of $1.4 billion.