Monday, May 15, 2000

Quarter designs rolling in

Ohio's still collecting two-bit ideas; Kentucky and Indiana are close to calling the tails side

By Mike Pulfer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Tristate quarters, the trio of coin designs that will represent Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio in the U.S. Mint's 50 state quarters program, will be round.

        They'll have silver George Washingtons on the front.

        And they'll trust in God.

        The tails side, especially in Ohio, is pretty much up in the air, and pretty much up to the artists and idea generators who submit suggestions.

        Competitions are closed in Kentucky and Indiana, but the Ohio Bicentennial Commission in Columbus is encouraging residents to design more quarter ideas through May 25.

        Kentucky's coin is due out next year, Ohio's and Indiana's in 2002.

  Got an image in mind for the back of Ohio's quarter? Send your idea to the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, State House, Columbus, OH 43215.
  Designs must allow space at the top and bottom for the state name, year of statehood and the year the coin was minted. For a template online, go to
  Federal rules prohibit busts, logos and state seals. State symbols, historical events, and natural images are permissible.
  For more information on federal guidelines and the 50 state quarters program, go to
        Robert Johnstone is among 1,000 Ohioans who have given their 25-cents worth by sending a design proposal to Columbus. Mr. Johnstone of Blue Ash is a former art student and a retired Kroger employee whose interests include history and coin collecting.

        Mr. Johnstone's quarter includes images of an eagle, the state outline, the head of Indian warrior Tecumseh and seven stars, representing the seven Ohioans who served as president: James Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley and William Howard Taft).

        “The whole design is supposed to be historical,” Mr. Johnstone said. “Everything in it is history.”

        Most of the coin designs in Ohio have come from school children, says Brian Newbacher, spokesman for the state.

        Under the Treasury's selection procedures, those designs that meet the standards of the U.S. Mint, the Treasury and the U.S. Fine Arts Committee come back to the individual states for selections by the governor's offices.

        Kentucky sent only one design to Washington. In Indianapolis, the Indiana Quarter Committee selected 17 finalists, and Gov. Frank O'Bannon narrowed the list to four, which were sent to Washington earlier this month. His favorite: a basketball player and a race car superimposed over the state's outline.

        Although it has not gotten final approval, the flip side of the Kentucky coin is likely to be dominated by a horse, representing the Commonwealth's breeding and racing industries. Somewhere in the background, you'll find “My Old Kentucky Home.”

  According to the U.S. Mint's production schedule, based on the dates of official statehood, the remaining 43 state quarters will be issued through 2008:
  What's out there: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, all issued quarters, in that order, in 1999.
  Coming up, in order of issue:
  • 2000: South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia
  • 2001: New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Kentucky
  • 2002: Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi
  • 2003: Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri, Arkansas
  • 2004: Michigan, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin
  • 2005: California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, West Virginia
  • 2006: Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota
  • 2007: Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah
  • 2008: Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii
        After receiving about 1,700 design concepts from the public, Kentucky sent two of them to the Kentucky Commission on Fine Arts.

        “The other one was (Abraham) Lincoln's birthplace,” said Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman for Gov. Paul Patton. “The commission threw it out, saying it was artistically unsophisticated.”

        Regardless of its sophistication level, the horse — or some horse — was a clear favorite among those designs submitted to the state. According to the governor's office, 525, or 31 percent of all entries featured equine images.

        Other popular themes included cardinals, significant buildings, nature scenes and geographic outlines of the state.

        In Indiana, popular images among 3,700 entries included frontiersman and Revolutionary War Gen. George Rogers Clark, race cars (old and new), basketball players, farms, state outlines, torches, stars and more cardinals.

        In Mr. Johnstone's design for the Ohio coin, an eagle is superimposed over a corner of an Ohio outline.

        The bird, he says, represents Ohio's part in the first moon landing (Ohioan Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the lunar surface), the first earth orbit (John Glenn) and the Wright brothers' airplane development at Dayton.

        Under the eagle, there's the tip of the Ohio flag. “Everybody knows it because of the swallowtail,” Mr. Johnstone said.


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