Treasury sets guides for quarters

Excerpted from an article in Coin World by Michele Orzano, Coin World Staff

U.S. Treasury concerns that designs for the 50 State Circulating Commemorative quarter dollars reverses could edge toward the "frivolous or inappropriate," prompted some changes to the legislation during a House Banking Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy hearing Sept. 10.

Rep. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., the chief sponsor of H.R. 2414 and chairman of the subcommittee, said he and Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin were in agreement "that all the new designs should be 'dignified'"; and thus added language that mandates "the Secretary shall not select any frivolous or inappropriate design."

Additional changes include the prohibition of the use of a bust or head-and-shoulders portrait of any individual, living or dead, and any other representation of a living person on the coins.

Coupled with the subcommittee's unanimous approval and the significant support throughout the House, the legislation will bypass the House Banking Committee and go directly to the full House of Representatives, according to a news release from the House Banking Committee.

Next stop would be the Senate where the proposal is not expected to encounter any opposition.

The 50 State Circulating Commemorative quarter dollar program would authorize the issuance of five coins each year beginning in 1999 for states in the order they were admitted into the Union.

The reverse designs would be emblematic of the individual states, and the obverse, or Washington portrait, having minimal, if any changes. If new states are admitted to the Union during the 10-year issuance period, the Secretary could decide to authorize the striking of a coin for the newest states once coins for the first 50 states are struck.

The legislation also specifies that the governors of the individual states, or other state officials or group designated by the state, will recommend designs to the Secretary for final approval.

All designs would be approved by both the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Commission, before going to the Secretary of the Treasury for final approval.

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