Okie State Quarter — Vote Now

A hundred years after statehood, the Oklahoma governor’s office website has posted online the contestants for the Sooner State’s impending permanent legacy in the U.S. Mint’s ongoing 50 State Quarters program. Cast your vote today! The winning design, perhaps with slight modifications by the Mint, will be the first $0.25 planchets punched in 2008.

I collected cheap U.S. and foreign coins avidly when I was a kid and teen, appreciate good numismatic art as well as variety in coinage, and have been giving my kids new state quarters as they roll out. For years, therefore, I’ve been anticipating the OK design. None of the entries inspire me very much, and all but one (the scissortail, for which I voted), are way too complex for a one inch wide metal circle. For such a small space, simple and clean works best.

Take a look at the New Jersey quarter (actual quarter even more so than the enlarged one online) for a splendidly wretched example of how a complicated design just doesn’t work in a circle that puny. On an even slightly worn quarter, Mississippi’s monochrome magnolia display is an unrecognizable heap of visual gibberish! Most other states, indeed, have tried to cram way too much stuff in the tiny space allowed.

My favorites that are out, in no order, are Connecticut (bare winter tree), Texas (state map, lone star, lariat edge), Montana (buffalo skull), California (John Muir with half-dome), Iowa (schoolhouse on the prairie) and Kansas (buffalo and sunflower). The common denominator is simplicity; and even a couple of those (IA in particular) could have been even better without some of the minor side detail that will wear right off in 10-15 years.

Someday I’ll actually draw and post online my personal lists of “joke” and “alternate” state quarters that’s been circulating in my head for nearly 8 years now. Hint: Oklahoma’s is a wedge tornado down the highway, Texas is a pumpjack between two cactuses, Colorado’s is a skier crashing into a tree, New Jersey’s is a tipped-over toxic waste barrel with a puddle of fluid leaking out. >:-) The real Wisconsin, with the cow head and cheese block, actually came really close to the one I imagined!


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