America the Beautiful Quarters

I’m extremely disappointed to have just learned about the America the Beautiful Quarters program. I suppose that it is my own fault for not being curious what they were going to slap on the backside of quarters after the State Quarters program petered out with a whimper last year. But then again, they only announced the first five designs less than two months ago, and if they hadn’t popped up on my radar yet, (I’d venture to say I have written more about the State Quarters than anyone you know), then you probably haven’t heard of them either.

I for one, am delighted that we have another decade of strange new quarters.  Though a bit more focused than the open-ended, occasionally hilarious, State Quarters program, I imagine these will still be able to provide a laugh, spark a debate or two, and give everyone a good reminder that Delaware is still in the union.

A few quick thoughts after checking out the list of what the quarters will feature:

Biggest Meh: South Dakota, for grimly shrugging their shoulders and handing in a second quarter design with Mt. Rushmore on it. Reminiscent of the kid who would only write book reports on Matt Christopher books, despite the teachers strongly worded hints that maybe he should expand his horizons a bit if he didn’t want to repeat the fifth grade.  South Dakota bites their lip, looks the teacher in the eye, then goes home, changes a few words here and there and presto – their report on The Kid Who Only Hit Homers is now about Shortstop From Tokyo.

Biggest Item that Could Be Interpretted as a Gaffe:  Obviously, the quarters come out in the order that the sites they depict became National Parks.  And by “obviously” I mean, once I had studied this list for close to half an hour, that gradually became apparent.  But the casual list observer could be forgiven for thinking that, boy, the Tuskegee Airmen National historic site in Alabama certainly does look lonely.  As the last site on the list. And the only one featured in the final year.  Which happens to be 2021.  Fortunately, there are no offensive connotations that can be drawn from that, except for the gigantic ones that immediately spring to mind upon viewing the list.

Pride of New Jersey

Pride of New Jersey

Biggest F-You Based on a Technicality: New Jersey, who whipped it out right on the table and picked Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty).  Yes, the same Statue of Liberty featured on New York’s State Quarter. And their license plates. And the entire public consciousness. But, did you know that Ellis Island, despite anything you or anyone you know has ever been told or read or holds to be true, is actually part of New Jersey?  It’s true, (as of 1998 when the Supreme Court deemed it so in a highly contested case.)

Quarters Sent Back to the Mint the Most Times Because of Suspected Spelling Errors: A tie between DC’s Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park.

Most Baffling Choice of Information to Include in all the Quarter Descriptions: The inscrutable “Legal Authority” field, which provides an indecipherable combination of two numbers and the word “stat.”  I can’t imagine why this was included.  Did they expect someone to be perusing the list, suddenly burst into a rage and exclaim “The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park??  That’s not a goddamn national pa-OH, RIGHT! 106 Stat. 934, signed into law on August 26th, 1992.  I almost forgot about that important piece of legislation.”

Most Bad Ass Sounding Quarter Location: I was worried that Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness might not be as sweet as its name makes it sounds. But according to wikipedia, “The wilderness also offers some of the most critical habitat for wolverines in the lower 48 states.” So those fears would be quite unfounded.

There’s surely plenty more to say on the topic, so I’ll hold off until I actually get some of the quarters in my hand.  It’s going to be a whale of a decade!!

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