What’s On The 50 State Quarters? Here’s The Rundown!

Even nearly 20 years after the first 50 States Quarter was released in 1999, coin collectors still enjoy what became one of the most popular commemorative coin series of all time. The obverse of each 50 States Quarter features a portrait of George Washington, while the reverse design incorporates themes relevant to the given state honored on that quarter. Each of the 50 states was honored on the quarters in the order they were admitted to the Union, beginning with Delaware in 1999 and concluding in 2008 with Hawaii.

One of the many reasons so many folks enjoy collecting 50 States Quarter is the variety of designs and themes on the coins, which include many iconic symbols representing each of the 50 states. Topical collectors, or those who collect coins based mainly on the topics featured on coinage, can find just about anything and everything in the reverse designs of the 50 States Quarters, including food, animals, historic figures, and even planes, trains and automobiles!

Here's a breakdown of some of the incredible designs, iconic symbols, famous people and places, and other fun things collectors can find on 50 States Quarters:


Recognizable Historic Figures

There are at least nine quarters depicting identifiable, historic people, including:

  • Caesar Rodney, appearing on the 1999 Delaware Quarter
  • George Washington crossing the Delaware River on the 1999 New Jersey Quarter
  • The Wright brothers (Orville and Wilbur) flying over Kitty Hawk on the 2001 North Carolina Quarter
  • Abraham Lincoln on the 2003 Illinois Quarter
  • Helen Keller on the 2003 Alabama Quarter
  • Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on the 2003 Missouri Quarter
  • Naturalist John Muir on the 2005 California Quarter
  • George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore, depicted on the 2006 South Dakota Quarter
  • Hawaii's King Kamehameha I on the 2008 Hawaii Quarter


Food On The 50 States Quarters

Did someone say food? Yes, there are several 50 States Quarters paying homage to everyone's favorite topic: food! I won't be counting animals as meat, because I'll categorize them elsewhere further along in this article. Otherwise, foods on the 50 States Quarters include:

  • The peach, on 1999's Georgia Quarter
  • Maple syrup (maple sap being tapped from a tree) on the 2001 Vermont Quarter
  • Cheese and corn on the 2004 Wisconsin Quarter


Vehicles… In The Air, On The Road, Over The Sea!

You'll find planes, trains, automobiles… and space shuttles(!) on the 50 States Quarters, too! Check this out…

  • The boat upon which Washington crossed the Delaware River is on the 1999 New Jersey Quarter
  • English sailing ships grace the 2000 Virginia Quarter
  • The Wright Brother's plane appears on the 2001 North Carolina Quarter
  • A recreational sailboat glides across the reverse of the 2001 Rhode Island Quarter
  • An early plane flies to action on the 2002 Ohio Quarter
  • An "Indy" car revs hearts from its place on the 2002 Indiana Quarter
  • A sail boat cruises forward on the 2003 Maine Quarter
  • A row boat carrying early American explorers Lewis and Clark centrally figures on the 2003 Missouri Quarter
  • Explorer Ponce De Leon's ship and a NASA space shuttle share the scene on the 2004 Florida Quarter
  • A small motor boat purrs on the 2005 Minnesota Quarter
  • A livestock-drawn carriage clops along on the 2006 Nebraska Quarter
  • Two locomotives steam meet head to head on the 2007 Utah Quarter


Architecture

What would great American cities be without their buildings? Architectural design is a common theme on several 50 States Quarters. Here's a rundown of the quarters featuring buildings and other architectural elements:

  • The Maryland State House dome is on the state's 2000 quarter
  • A Kentucky Mansion appears on the state's 2001 quarter
  • A suspension bridge is seen on the 2001 Rhode Island Quarter
  • A profile of a barn and silo and modern-day downtown Chicago are seen on the 2003 Illinois Quarter
  • The St. Louis Arch appears on the 2003 Missouri Quarter
  • An old-fashioned schoolhouse stands proudly on the 2004 Iowa Quarter
  • A bridge is seen on the 2005 West Virginia Quarter


Plants, Trees and Flowers Galore

Who doesn't love the Great Outdoors? The 50 States Quarters offer several designs featuring landscape views, stately trees, and state flowers. Here's a list of the quarters on which you'll find them:

  • The Charter Oak is on the 1999 Connecticut Quarter
  • A Palmetto and the Carolina Yellow Jessamine are seen on the 2000 South Carolina Quarter
  • Maple trees grace the 2001 Vermont Quarter
  • Magnolias appear on the 2002 Mississippi Quarter
  • An apple blossom and pine trees are seen on the 2003 Arkansas Quarter
  • Trees on the banks of the Mississippi River feature prominently on the 2003 Missouri Quarter
  • Trees are seen on the 2003 Maine Quarter
  • A newly planted tree grows to life on the 2004 Iowa Quarter
  • Palm trees sway on the 2004 Florida Quarter
  • Spruce trees stand tall on the 2005 Oregon Quarter
  • Trees are seen on the 2005 West Virginia Quarter
  • Conifers grace the 2005 Minnesota Quarter
  • A sunflower is seen on the 2005 Kansas Quarter
  • Conifers also make an appearance on the 2006 Colorado Quarter
  • A grassy prairie paints the scene on the 2006 North Dakota Quarter
  • Conifers, common to many mountainous regions and northern states, are seen yet again on the 2007 Washington Quarter
  • Indian blanket wildflowers flourish on the 2008 Oklahoma Quarter
  • Cacti appears on the 2008 Arizona Quarter
  • Conifers make one last 50 States Quarters appearance on the 2008 Alaska Quarter


Animal Abundance

There many not be any lions and tigers on the 50 States Quarters, but there are bears… Oh, my! Check out the menagerie of creatures great and small that collectors can spot on the 50 States Quarters:

  • Caesar Rodney's horse on the 1999 Delaware Quarter
  • A Carolina Wren on the 2000 South Carolina Quarter
  • The horse on the 2001 Kentucky Quarter
  • An eastern brown pelican on the 2002 Louisiana Quarter
  • A mockingbird on the 2003 Arkansas Quarter
  • Birds flying on the 2003 Maine Quarter
  • A cow on the 2004 Wisconsin Quarter
  • The buffalo on the 2005 Kansas Quarter
  • A bird on the 2005 California Quarter
  • The duck on the 2005 Minnesota Quarter
  • Wild horses on the 2006 Nevada Quarter
  • Bison appear on the 2006 North Dakota Quarter
  • Cattle clatter on the 2006 Nebraska Quarter
  • A ring-necked pheasant flies on the 2006 South Dakota Quarter
  • A bison skull (technically still an animal!) on the 2007 Montana Quarter
  • The peregrine falcon on the 2007 Idaho Quarter
  • A trout jumps on the 2007 Washington Quarter
  • A bucking horse, seen in silhouette profile, on the 2007 Wyoming Quarter
  • A scissortail flycatcher bird is seen on the 2008 Oklahoma Quarter
  • A grizzly bear and fish on the 2008 Alaska Quarter

And these are just some of the cool people, places, things, and symbols waiting to be found on the 50 States Quarters. With so many intriguing designs, diversity of topics, and the opportunity to find these coins in pocket change at the mere cost of face value, it's no wonder – nearly two decades on – the 50 States Quarters continue fascinating coin collectors across the United States.



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