The letdown is palpable.
Every year since 1999, five times a year, the U.S. Mint has issued a new state quarter.
Until last month.
You see, 10 years x 5 states per year = 50, and we are therefore out of states for which to issue quarters.
The obvious solution: Add a few states. Or count territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, even Delaware if absolutely necessary.
Oh, Delaware is already a state? It's so insignificant, I keep forgetting. Silly me. That was the first quarter issued, back on Jan. 4, 1999.
And the Bahamas, you say, are a British possession? Isn't that a bit presumptuous for the Brits to have land so close to us? Couldn't they invade from there? I'm just saying, let's keep an eye out.
OK, I'm halfway into writing this introduction, and it turns out the joke's on me. There is a set of 2009 quarters honoring Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. That's six quarters, which means someone in our government can't count, but it's true, it's really true. In fact, the D.C. quarter, featuring Duke Ellington, hit the streets Jan. 26.
But that buys us just one more year. What do we do in 2010?
How about national parks?
Yep, that's right. National park quarters will debut in 2010. The bill to do so was signed into law Dec. 23 by President Bush. It includes a series of 56, with each state and district and territory getting one chance to feature one or more of its national parks.
That brings us through 2020. After that? Are they going to get so desperate they put, say, presidents on the quarter? (Just joking. George Washington is still on the quarter.)So here's what's up. We give you a few clues, basically what you'll find on a certain state's quarter, and you name the state. Sound fair? (Not that we care.)On with the quiz. (Answers on Page 11C.)1. The quarter for this state, founded in 1876, displays a picturesque Rocky Mountain scene with evergreens in the foreground.
2. Monarch King Kamehameha I (who died in 1819) stretches his hand toward the inhabitants of what is now this state, founded in 1959.
3. Two people are fishing on a boat, which appears to have a motor, on the quarter of this state, founded in 1858. The boat floats on a tree-lined lake, a loon on the water in the foreground.
4. There were no airplanes when this state came to being as one of the original 13 in 1789. But as you see on the quarter, this state would later be first to take to the air, in 1903.
5. "Esto perpetua" (May it be forever) says the quarter of this state, which became the 43rd to join the union in 1890. A peregrine falcon dwarfs the state's vertical outline.
6. The New River Gorge Bridge spans, of course, the New River on this state's quarter. By agreeing to abolish slavery, it broke free from an existing state to become the 35th state, founded in 1863.
7. So sad, so sad. This state's quarter was issued in 2000, and the rock outcrop fell apart three years later. The nine stars on the quarter signify that in 1788 it was the ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, thereby putting the Constitution into effect. "Live Free or Die" is this state's creed.
8. This quarter's design is based on the 1851 painting by Emmanuel Leutze, "Washington Crossing the Delaware." The painting hangs in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The answer is neither Delaware nor New York.