Why Did Michigan Design a U.S. Quarter?
Approximately every 10 weeks, starting in 1999 and continuing through 2008, a new quarter commemorating one of the 50 states is released by the United States Mint.
The 50 State Quarters Program, sponsored by the Mint, requires that each quarter's reverse (tails) side celebrates one of the 50 states with a design honoring its unique history, traditions, and symbols. The quarters are released in the same order that the states joined the union.
State designs-a minimum of three and a maximum of five-are submitted and selected via a process determined by the governor of the state. The Mint then reviews the design concepts for appropriateness and to determine whether they can be suitable coined by their engravers. The Mint then returns the designs back to the state for each governor to select a final design.
Design Criteria for All State Quarters
- Design ideas shall maintain a dignity befitting the nation's coinage.
- Because it is important that the nation's coinage and currency bear dignified designs of which the citizens of the United States can be proud, no designs will be accepted which are frivolous or inappropriate, or contain a head-and-shoulders portrait or bust of any person, living or dead, or portrait of a living person.
- Designs shall have broad appeal to the citizens of the state and avoid controversial subjects or symbols that are likely to offend.
- Suitable subject matter for design concepts include state landmarks (natural and man-made), landscapes, historically significant buildings, symbols of state resources or industries, official state flora and fauna, state icons (e.g., Michigan cherry, Michigan Mackinac Bridge, etc.), and outlines of the state.
- State flags and state seals are not considered suitable for designs.
- Consistent with the authorizing legislation, the states are encouraged to submit concepts that promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the state, its history and geography, and the rich diversity of our national heritage.
- Priority consideration are given to designs and concepts that are enduring representations of the state. Coins have a commercial life span of at least 30 years and are collected for generations.
- Inappropriate design concepts include, but are not limited to logos or depictions of specific commercial, private, educational, civic, religious, sports, or other organizations whose membership or ownership is not universal.
- Concepts or background materials submitted to the Mint that are covered by copyright, trademark, or other rights (such as privacy and publicity rights) must include a release acceptable to the Mint from the rights owner.
- Concepts must be submitted accompanied by supporting material as appropriate-for example, photographs or sketches of landmarks, landscapes historical buildings, or official depictions of state symbols. If copyrighted materials are used, releases should be provided from the copyright holders.
- Each design must be accompanied by a written description of the design.
- After the federal approval process, the Governor of each state has the authority to choose the quarter's design. The Governor's decision is final.
Find out more about the 50 State Quarters Program: