WASHINGTON — The United States Mint today announced six new designs that will grace the quarters issued next year to honor the District of Columbia and the five United States territories: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, United States Virgin Islands and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The coins will be put into circulation in approximately two–month intervals throughout the year.
“Like the 50 State Quarters Program before it, these new quarters will encourage Americans to appreciate the unique history of the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. “While we focus on each one’s individuality, we also recognize the common thread that unites us all.”
The designs on the reverse (tails side) of the 2009 quarters feature unique, rotating images emblematic of the District of Columbia and each of the territories. The coins will continue to bear the standard inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM and the year, 2009.
The quarter honoring the District of Columbia debuts in late January 2009. The coin’s reverse design features an image of celebrated musician Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington seated at a piano with the inscriptions, DUKE ELLINGTON and JUSTICE FOR ALL, the District’s official motto. The District of Columbia quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Don Everhart.
The second quarter of 2009, honoring the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, depicts a sentry box in Old San Juan overlooking the sea with a hibiscus. Isla del Encanto (Island of Enchantment) is also inscribed on the reverse. The Puerto Rico quarter reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Joseph Menna.
The third quarter of 2009, honoring the territory of Guam, includes an outline of the island of Guam, a latte stone–once used as building support in ancient Chamorro society–and a flying proa (a native boat). Guahan I Tanó ManChamorro (Guam, Land of the Chamorro) is also inscribed on the coin’s reverse. The Guam quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint AIP Associate Designer David Westwood and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Jim Licaretz.
The fourth quarter of 2009 honors the territory of American Samoa. The reverse design features the ava bowl, whisk and staff used in special Samoan ceremonies. SAMOA MUAMUA LE ATUA (Samoa, God is First), the official motto of American Samoa, is inscribed on the reverse. The American Samoa quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint AIP Master Designer Stephen Clark and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Charles Vickers.
The fifth quarter of 2009 honors the territory of the United States Virgin Islands. The reverse design features the three major islands that comprise the territory with a Banana Quit (the official bird), a Yellow Cedar (the official flower) and a Tyre Palm, a tree native to the United States Virgin Islands. United in Pride and Hope, the territory’s official motto, is also inscribed on the reverse. The United States Virgin Islands quarter reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Joseph Menna.
The last quarter of 2009 honors the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The reverse design features a latte stone on an island with a Carolinian canoe under sail in the lagoon. Two white Fairy Terns (native birds) are depicted in flight together overhead with a Carolinian Mwar (head lei) comprised of plumeria, langilang (ylang ylang), angagha (peacock flower) and teibwo (pacific basil), framing the design. The Northern Mariana Islands quarter reverse was designed by United States Mint AIP Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Phebe Hemphill.
The obverse (heads side) of all six 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters will continue to display the familiar image of George Washington originally designed by Sculptor John Flanagan in 1932 and modified by former United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver William Cousins in 1999. The inscription “In God We Trust” will continue to appear on the obverse of the quarter, as well as the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “Quarter Dollar,” and “Liberty.”
The 2009 quarters will be issued into circulation in quantities to meet the needs of the United States, both for commerce and collectors. In addition to producing sufficient quantities of circulating coins to meet the Nation’s demand, the Department of the Treasury has the authority to mint and issue uncirculated and proof coins, as well as a 90 percent silver version of each coin. These numismatic versions will be included in the United States Mint’s annual product offerings.