Can you Spare a Quarter? US Mint Referees Disputes on Coin Designs

The depiction of a state’s image on new quarters is leading to disputes among the states.

The United States Mint has a problem.

When you look at those shiny new quarters in your pocket, you will see the source of the problem. What design should go on those coins to represent the state featured on the coin?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the program has politicians, tourism officials and artists fighting with each other in deciding how states want to represent themselves on the coins. The final decision on the design is made by the governor of the state subject to guidelines issued by the Mint.

In the middle of the dispute is the director of the Mint, Henrietta Holsman Fore. The Mint prefers that states have different events depicted. As a result, disputes over the space shuttle (Ohio v. Florida), the light bulb (Ohio v. New York) and the Wright Brothers (Ohio v. North Carolina) have erupted as states battle to put these events on the new quarters.

Regardless of the dispute, the agency is showing a flair for capitalism by making a profit off of the program. The Journal says that one in three Americans has collected state coins and removed them from circulation. The result is about $3 billion in profit for the Mint as each quarter can be made for a few cents.

To help settle the disputes and improve the overall look of the coins, the Mint has hired 20 professional artists who will design those quarters that have not yet been issued.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47