misconceptions led some astray
By Michele Orzano
Soon we will bid goodbye to the
50 State quarter dollars program. It will be
remembered as a program that brought real change
to America's circulating coinage in more ways
For those who've been faithfully looking for
these little metal discs during the past 10
years, you've had a front-row seat on history.
It is indeed something you can share with your
kids and grandkids.
Along the way we've heard and refuted many
rumors about the program itself and the State
quarter designs in particular.
It took several years before collectors and
others began to understand the program. And,
apparently, to read up on American history.
Most of the so-called jokes and quips subsided
quickly though several memorable incidents still
come to mind.
It began with the very first State quarter
dollar to be released honoring Delaware. Once
the 1999 Delaware coin was issued we were
treated to endless rounds of the joke about what
kind of horse is on the Delaware coin (quarter
Confusion also arose when out-of-state residents
thought the Delaware coin depicted Paul Revere
(it's actually Delaware patriot Caesar Rodney on
The same sort of confusion surrounded the
Pennsylvania design depicting the statue known
as Commonwealth, an allegorical female figure
that has stood atop the Pennsylvania Capitol
dome in Harrisburg since 1905.
Some people asked us why she was holding a
"Nazi-like symbol" in her left hand. The staff
in the statue's hand is a ribboned mace topped
with an eagle with wings outstretched
The design on the 2000 Massachusetts coin
briefly generated a rumor that it would be
recalled in light of concerns about gun
violence. The design depicts Daniel Chester
French's Minuteman statue with musket at his
side commemorating the battles of Concord and
Lexington, preludes to the American Revolution.
The 2001 North Carolina quarter dollar design
generated probably the most confusion of any
One source of confusion was the motto on the
North Carolina coin that reads first flight, a
reference to the theme of the state's centennial
celebration in 2003 to mark the Dec. 17, 1903,
flight by the Wright brothers on the sand dunes
at Kitty Hawk, N.C.
Some collectors were confused because the motto
on the North Carolina license plate states
"First in Flight." That motto has been used on
the license plates since 1981.
Many people contacting Coin World were sure the
North Carolina coin they had was struck in error
and thus worth lots of money or was being
recalled by the U.S. Mint.
Neither observation was true. No mistake was
made on the North Carolina quarter dollar
involving the motto. That's exactly what was
supposed to be placed on the coin.
The things we learn from coins!
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