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Rating the State Quarter Designs

Mar 27, 2008
With the State Quarter program nearing an end, it may be time to reflect back on the program and determine which designs will stand the test of time and which ones will be scorned.

The State Quarter program kicked off in 1999 and was to end at the end of 2008. It has since been extended to add the US Territories to the program. Whether they should have been there from the beginning is a matter of debate for another time. The purpose of this article is to review the best and worst designs.

Coin Art is a matter of personal opinion and what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. With that in mind, I need to state that these are my opinions. At the end of this article will be a link where you can state your opinions on each and every design.

My top 5 Designs in no order are Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota and Minnesota.

The Arizona design fully depicts the beauty of AZ. The design is full and rich. The sun, a cactus and the Grand Canyon, that says it all.

The Alaska design depicts the wild beauty of Alaska, or at least what is left. Seriously, a grizzly bear emerging from the water with a salmon in his/her mouth? Awesome! Also, there is a waterfall in the back rather than just a stream to add additional detail to a wonderful design.

The Colorado design shows the high mountains with pine trees surrounding the base. One can just imagine the snow capped peaks, the smell of pine and the wildlife that his hidden beneath it all. If you are a skier, than you are likely to be imagining coming down one of those peaks at full speed.

The North Dakota design shows the great American Bison on the grass lands with the sun in the background as well as canyons and buttes. The image of the bison is very nice.

The Minnesota design depicts someone fishing on a calm lake with the forest in the background. Known as the "Land or 10,000 lakes", it is only fitting that this is what ended up in the Minnesota coin.

Now, my bottom 5 is also in no order. Let me first say that when sorting a group of objects, something or someone has to be on top and someone has to be on the bottom. It does not necessarily mean they are bad. Remember, there were hundreds of other designs that never made it to a coin. My bottom five, or least appealing designs in no particular order are Connecticut, Wyoming, Kansas, Michigan, and Wisconsin

I have the Connecticut design on my list because at first glance it is just a dead tree. Unless you know about the history, you would not know what this represents. So, for most Americans, it is just a dead tree.

Wyoming made the due to the flatness of the design. While it was apparently intentional, it just does not give any artistic flair. It is just boring.

The Kansas quarter made the list as I do not like the look of the bison. It also has too much open space. The coin could have had more to it.

Michigan made the list as it is merely an outline of the state and the surrounding great lakes. Yes it is the Great Lakes state, but the UP is overshadowed by the lakes.

Finally, Wisconsin made the list as the site of a cow and cheese on a coin just does not seem right. Yes, Wisconsin is America's Dairy Land and should be proud of it, but maybe a picture of a Harley Davidson would have been nice. After all, isn't a Harley the dream of every American man?

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little rant about the state quarter program. As promised, read the box below to get links to the opinions of other people on each state quarter as well as the opportunity for you.
About the Author
Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has Coin stuff Reviews. For coin reviews and State Quarter Reviews go here. Visit his websites for a history of US coins, metal market updates and news about your favorite coins.
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