poetry in your pocket

January 13, 2022

The U.S. Mint began this week circulating quarters with the image of poet Maya Angelou. This is the first issue in the four-year American Women Quarters™ Program, with up to five coins to be issued each year, celebrating “the accomplishments and contributions made by women to the development and history of our country.”

The image on the Angelou (reverse) side of the coin was designed by freelance illustrator Emily Damstra and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Craig Campbell.

The coin’s obverse features a right-facing profile of George Washington, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser. In 1931, Congress held a competition for a coin to honor the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Though not chosen, Gardin Fraser’s popular submission was revived for the 1999 George Washington Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar coin and finally goes into wide circulation on the obverse of the American Women Quarters.

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