New U.S. coinage will honor the District of Columbia and United States Territories including the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are a follow-up on the 50 State Quarters Program; a ten-year program started in 1999 that will end in late 2008 with the release of the Hawaii’s commemorative quarter.
“The 50 State Quarters® Program has been the most popular coin program in U.S. history,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. “We look forward to honoring the District of Columbia and the U.S. Territories by minting and issuing six quarters in 2009 that will build upon the success of a program that has educated a generation in state geography and history.”
Three proposed designs for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Virgin Islands Beauty
A geographical rendition of the U.S. Virgin Islands which includes the 3 major islands, the official bird of the Virgin Islands (the Yellow Breast or Banana Quit) and the official flower of the Virgin Islands (Yellow Cedar). These items represent the natural wonder and beauty of the islands. They are placed on the background of a beach with the Tyre Palm which is native to the Virgin Islands. The inscription “United in Pride and Hope” is the Official Motto of the Territory found on the Virgin Islands Territorial Seal.
First in Freedom
This design is of a Conch Shell Blower, representing the call to freedom. The inscription reads “First in Freedom”. This represents the U.S. Virgin Islands being the first jurisdiction currently under the U.S. Flag to be emancipated from slavery (1848). This rendition also highlights the Amerindian struggle with Christopher Columbus upon his arrival at historic Salt River in St. Croix in 1493, the 1878 Fireburn in St. Croix and the first successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere on St. John in 1733. The legacy of the struggle for freedom is of great importance to the Virgin Islands considering that over three quarters of the population is of African Descent, the only State or Territory under the U.S. Flag with that distinction.
A geographical rendition of the U.S. Virgin Islands which includes the 3 major islands and an interpretation of the Three Queens. The Three Queens are symbolic of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. The queen representing St. Thomas has an oar in her hand. This is symbolic of the maritime/mercantile nature of the Charlotte Amalie Harbor. The queen representing St. John has a sickle in her hand, symbolic of plantation life on St. John which slaves successfully rebelled against in 1733. The queen representing St. Croix has a cane bill in her hand, representative of St. Croix as the agricultural center of the territory. The representation of the Queens also showcases the pivotal role of women in Virgin Islands History.
Earlier this year the community of the U.S. Virgin Islands was asked to vote, either online or through paper ballots, for their choice. In June 2008 the Governor of the Virgin Islands announced that “VI Beauty” had secured the most support with 6,882 votes. “First in Freedom” and “Three Queens” received 4,553 and 1,887 votes respectively. The Secretary of the Treasury has the final say on approving coin designs.
The coins representing the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, will be released in equal sequential intervals in 2009 in the order listed.