Pop Quiz: What Is on Your State’s Quarter?

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Many Americans grew up with one standard design on the quarter, featuring George Washington’s dignified profile on one side of the coin and a stately bald eagle on the reverse.

In 1975-1976, bicentennial quarters, minted to mark the 200th anniversary of U.S. independence, drummed up some interest but featured only one new design. Then, beginning in 1999, the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program brought change to our change.

Quarters now offer up images of flora, fauna, famous landmarks, musical instruments, race cars and even cheese. (Wisconsin, we’re looking at you with that one.)

The state quarters were released in sets of five per year for 10 years, with states lined up according to the order in which they joined the Union. It was a long wait for Hawaii and Alaska, in other words.

But that wasn’t all.

Coins for the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories were issued in 2009. And in 2010, the U.S. Mint began a new 56-coin series honoring America’s national parks and other national sites. The America the Beautiful Quarters Program issued five new coins in 2020 and one more, featuring the Tuskgee Airmen, was released on Feb. 1, 2021.

Here’s a look at the 50 nifty quarters that started it all, in the order of their release.

1. Delaware

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 1999

Unique coin inscription: The First State

The Delaware quarter depicts Caesar Rodney’s historic 18-hour midnight horseback ride in 1776.

This lesser-known Founding Father rode 80 miles to Philadelphia to cast Delaware’s tie-breaking vote in favor of the 13 Colonies declaring their independence from Great Britain.

2. Pennsylvania

Vladimir Wrangel / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 1999

Unique coin inscription: Virtue Liberty Independence

Pennsylvania’s quarter features the “Commonwealth” statue that tops its State Capitol, plus the state’s outline and motto.

The vase-like shape on the state image is a keystone, an architectural term for a wedge-like stone used in arches to hold all the other arch stones in place. It honors Pennsylvania’s “Keystone State” nickname.

3. New Jersey

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 1999

Unique coin inscription: Crossroads of the Revolution

Big action is depicted on the New Jersey quarter, which features Gen. George Washington and his soldiers famously crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776, before the Battle of Trenton. That surprise attack helped Washington and the Continental Army win the first major military victory of the Revolutionary War.

4. Georgia

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Coin released: 1999

Unique coin inscription: Wisdom Justice Moderation

Georgia is known as the Peach State, and that fruit appears on the state quarter, along with an outline of the state, its motto and live oak sprigs. (The Southern live oak is Georgia’s state tree.)

Fun fact: The state outline excludes Dade County, Georgia’s northwestern-most county, which supposedly became frustrated with the slow pace of the South’s secession and attempted to secede on its own from the Union — and the state. Historians have debunked that legend, though.

5. Connecticut

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 1999

Unique coin inscription: The Charter Oak

Connecticut’s quarter really branches out, featuring an image of the state’s famed Charter Oak tree, a venerable symbol of the fight for freedom.

The huge white oak tree became famous as the hiding place of the Connecticut Charter of 1662, protecting it from a British governor who tried to seize it by force in 1687, making the tree a landmark. Already half a century old when it hid the Charter, the tree fell during a storm in 1856.

6. Massachusetts

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Coin released: 2000

Unique coin inscription: The Bay State

A Colonial Minuteman, one of the famed ready-in-a-minute civilian soldiers of the American Revolution, forever stands guard on the Massachusetts quarter.

The coin also features the state’s outline and nickname.

7. Maryland

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2000

Unique coin inscription: The Old Line State

The dome of Maryland’s elegant State House dominates its quarter, surrounded by leaf clusters from the official state tree, the white oak.

No metal nails were used in the dome’s construction, the State House site notes, and to this day it is held together with wooden pegs reinforced by iron straps forged in Annapolis, the state capital.

8. South Carolina

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2000

Unique coin inscription: The Palmetto State

Three of South Carolina’s state symbols decorate its quarter: the palmetto tree, the Carolina wren and the yellow jessamine flower.

A star on the state outline marks the location of the state capital, Columbia.

9. New Hampshire

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Coin released: 2000

Unique coin inscription: Live Free or Die/ The Old Man of the Mountain

The New Hampshire quarter now serves as a memorial to another state landmark that is no more.

It depicts the famed Old Man of the Mountain, a series of mountain ledges that appeared to create the profile of a face. The rocky landmark in the Franconia Notch pass of the White Mountains crumbled one night in 2003.

10. Virginia

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Coin released: 2000

Unique coin inscription: Jamestown 1607-2007 Quadricentennial

Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, the three ships that brought the first English settlers to the Jamestown settlement, sail forth on the Virginia quarter.

Their 1607 arrival led to the founding of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, in what was to become the state of Virginia.

11. New York

Vladimir Wrangel / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2001

Unique coin inscription: Gateway to Freedom

The Statue of Liberty lifts her lamp against an outline of New York state on the New York quarter.

Look closely at the image of the state. The line running through it indicates the important shipping corridor created in the 1800s by construction of the Erie Canal. The 363-mile canal linked Buffalo on Lake Erie in the west to Albany on the Hudson River, from which point river traffic flows southward to the Upper New York Bay between New York City and Jersey City.

12. North Carolina

Kazick / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2001

Unique coin inscription: First Flight

That plane on the North Carolina quarter, the Wright Flyer, looks awfully rickety by today’s standards.

But in 1903, brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright managed to keep the craft in the air for a whopping 12 seconds, landing in the soft sand of Kill Devil Hills beach, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Thus began the era of air travel.

13. Rhode Island

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Coin released: 2001

Unique coin inscription: The Ocean State

Tiny Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island, as the joke goes. But it boasts more than 400 miles of coastline.

Its quarter depicts a vintage sailboat on Narragansett Bay. The Claiborne Pell Bridge is in the background.

14. Vermont

Vermont quarter
Kazick / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2001

Unique coin inscription: Freedom and Unity

Vermont is traditionally the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup, and its quarter shows maple trees being tapped for the tasty treat. Camel’s Hump Mountain, a peak in the Green Mountains that is the state’s third-highest, is shown in the background.

15. Kentucky

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Coin released: 2001

Unique coin inscription: “My Old Kentucky Home”

Kentucky’s quarter depicts a thoroughbred racehorse, in honor of the state’s famed Kentucky Derby.

The building behind it is the historic Bardstown residence where composer Stephen Foster wrote “My Old Kentucky Home.” The song became the state song.

16. Tennessee

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2002

Unique coin inscription: Musical Heritage

The Tennessee quarter hits the right notes with music fans, depicting a fiddle, guitar and trumpet.

Each instrument honors a different region and strand of the state’s musical history, with the fiddle for the bluegrass music of eastern Tennessee, the guitar for the country music of Nashville and central Tennessee and the trumpet for the blues of Memphis and western Tennessee.

17. Ohio

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2002

Unique coin inscription: Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers

Two very different symbols decorate the Ohio quarter. The biplane honors its “aviation pioneers,” the Ohio-raised Wright brothers, and the astronaut symbolizes space pioneers Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, also Ohio natives.

18. Louisiana

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2002

Unique coin inscription: Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana’s quarter crams a lot of symbolism onto one coin.

The pelican is the state bird, the trumpet stands for New Orleans’ jazz history and the outline of the 828,000-square-mile area of land known as the Louisiana Purchase is also shown. The purchase from France in 1803 for $15 million about doubled the size of the United States.

19. Indiana

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2002

Unique coin inscription: Crossroads of America

Nineteen stars dot Indiana’s quarter, symbolizing its place as the 19th state.

But more prominent on the coin is a racecar, honoring the famed Indianapolis 500, the world’s oldest currently operational automobile race held each year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

20. Mississippi

Tom Grundy / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2002

Unique coin inscription: The Magnolia State

Mississippi’s quarter displays flowering magnolia plants. The state honors the magnolia blossom as its state flower and the magnolia tree as its state tree.

21. Illinois

Radomir Rexny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2003

Unique coin inscription: Land of Lincoln, 21st State — Century

President Abraham Lincoln was actually born in Kentucky, but he moved to Illinois as a young adult, so it’s no surprise he appears on the Illinois state quarter. A farm sits behind him and the Chicago skyline rises before him, and he’s setting down a farm tool while stepping forward with a law book.

Twenty-one stars surround the symbols for the 21st state on the 21st quarter issued in the 50 State Quarters Program as the nation entered the 21st century.

22. Alabama

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Coin released: 2003

Unique coin inscription: Helen Keller, Spirit of Courage

Alabama-born Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, overcame great odds to succeed as an author and lecturer.

She’s shown on the state quarter reading a book in Braille, and her name appears in both English and Braille. Magnolias and a longleaf pine branch, honoring the state tree, decorate the coin’s sides.

23. Maine

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Coin released: 2003

Unique coin inscription: None

Maine’s historic Pemaquid Point Light is featured on its state quarter, standing atop a granite coast.

Sailing past the lighthouse is a three-masted schooner resembling the Victory Chimes. The ship is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

24. Missouri

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2003

Unique coin inscription: Corps of Discovery, 1804 — 2004

Two hundred years of history meld on the Missouri quarter. The coin shows the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch, completed in 1965, which rises beside the Missouri River.

It also depicts explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, whose Corps of Discovery expedition set out from St. Charles to navigate the river in 1804.

25. Arkansas

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2003

Unique coin inscription: None

The Arkansas quarter is dominated by a diamond (for the state’s diamond mines). It also features rice stalks and a mallard spreading its wings above a lake. All of it symbolizes the state’s riches and illustrates one of its nicknames, “The Natural State.”

26. Michigan

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2004

Unique coin inscription: Great Lakes State

Michigan is proud of its position at the heart of this nation’s Great Lakes, one of which shares a name with the state. The state outline and the outlines of all five of the lakes appear on the state quarter.

27. Florida

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2004

Unique coin inscription: Gateway to Discovery

Florida’s quarter mixes icons from different eras.

A 16th-century Spanish galleon honors the state’s history, while a space shuttle is a nod to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, on the state’s Atlantic coast, from which most U.S. space missions blast off.

28. Texas

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2004

Unique coin inscription: The Lone Star State

The Texas quarter features a simple and bold design. A giant star atop the state outline highlights the Lone Star State nickname.

The lariat encircling the design honors the state’s cowboy and cattle history as well as the frontier spirit that tamed the land.

29. Iowa

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2004

Unique coin inscription: Foundation in Education, Grant Wood

Iowa’s state quarter is themed Foundation in Education, with a teacher and students planting a tree by their one-room schoolhouse. The design is based on “Arbor Day,” a painting by Iowa-born artist Grant Wood.

30. Wisconsin

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2004

Unique coin inscription: Forward

Do you find Wisconsin’s state quarter moooooo-ving?

Wisconsin’s state motto, “Forward,” adorns a banner in front of a cow, an ear of corn and a wheel of cheese, symbols selected to honor the state’s agricultural strengths.

31. California

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2005

Unique coin inscription: John Muir, Yosemite Valley

Naturalist John Muir, dubbed by some the “Father of the National Park System,” stands in front of the Yosemite Valley’s monolithic granite headwall on California’s quarter.

A California condor, which was saved from near extinction by a captive breeding program, soars overhead.

32. Minnesota

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Coin released: 2005

Unique coin inscription: Land of 10,000 Lakes

A lakeside scene is fitting for Minnesota’s quarter, as the state is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, though it has many more than that number.

The state bird, the loon, calmly glides on the water in front of a fishing boat.

33. Oregon

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2005

Unique coin inscription: Crater Lake

Oregon’s quarter depicts the state’s famed Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the nation and seventh-deepest in the world. The lake formed in the crater of a former volcano, Mount Mazama, which exploded and then caved in more than 7,700 years ago.

Also visible is the lake’s Wizard Island, made of volcanic ash.

34. Kansas

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2005

Unique coin inscription: None

An American bison, the state animal of Kansas, dominates its state quarter.

It also features a stand of sunflowers, the state flower and source of the state nickname, the Sunflower State.

35. West Virginia

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2005

Unique coin inscription: New River Gorge

West Virginia’s state quarter depicts the scenic beauty of the New River and the New River Gorge Bridge, the nation’s second-highest bridge and one of the longest steel spans in the world.

36. Nevada

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2006

Unique coin inscription: The Silver State

Wild mustangs romp across the Nevada quarter with the sun behind the mountains. The state flower, the sagebrush, is also shown.

37. Nebraska

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2006

Unique coin inscription: Chimney Rock

Nebraska’s pioneer history is honored on its quarter, which shows a pioneer family in an oxen-drawn covered wagon.

Chimney Rock, a National Historic Site, rising 445 feet, is depicted in the background. The peak served as a landmark for many of the early pioneers who passed through the region on their way west toward California.

38. Colorado

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2006

Unique coin inscription: Colorful Colorado

Naturally, the famed Rocky Mountains that cross Colorado decorate its state quarter. That craggy mountain resembles Longs Peak, the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

39. North Dakota

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Coin released: 2006

Unique coin inscription: None

Two American bison are seen grazing in North Dakota’s famed Badlands, with one of that region’s flat-topped buttes in the distance, on its state quarter.

40. South Dakota

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2006

Unique coin inscription: None

South Dakota’s famed Mount Rushmore National Memorial dominates its quarter. Also shown is the state bird, the Chinese ring-necked pheasant.

Wheat stalks border the design. Wheat is a dominant crop in South Dakota.

41. Montana

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2007

Unique coin inscription: Big Sky Country

A striking bison skull, a symbol of the state’s rich Native American heritage, dominates the Montana state quarter. Tribes relied on the huge herds of bison that roamed the Great Plains for much of their food, clothing and shelter.

The rugged scenery of the state known as “Big Sky Country” is shown in the background.

42. Washington

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Coin released: 2007

Unique coin inscription: The Evergreen State

A salmon, a symbol of the state and Pacific Northwest culture, leaps high on the Washington state quarter.

Towering Mount Rainier in the background is the state’s highest peak. It still is considered an active volcano.

43. Idaho

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2007

Unique coin inscription: Esto Perpetua

The peregrine falcon, Idaho’s state raptor (the mountain bluebird is the state bird), is shown on its quarter, along with an outline of the state.

The coin also includes the state motto, “Esto perpetua,” Latin for “May it be forever.”

44. Wyoming

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2007

Unique coin inscription: The Equality State

The bucking bronco and hat-waving rider on the Wyoming state quarter symbolize its Wild West heritage.

The state’s nickname, “The Equality State,” honors the fact that its constitution, in 1889, included full voting rights for women.

45. Utah

Daniel D Malone / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2007

Unique coin inscription: Crossroads of the West

Utah’s state quarter honors the 1869 joining of the tracks of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. Two trains face a rendering of the golden spike that was driven to join the tracks.

The event, at Promontory, in what was then Utah Territory, made it possible for Americans to cross the nation by rail.

46. Oklahoma

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2008

Unique coin inscription: None

The Oklahoma state quarter features two of its official symbols. The state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, soars over the state wildflower, the Indian blanket.

47. New Mexico

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2008

Unique coin inscription: Land of Enchantment

New Mexico’s quarter is marked with the outline of the state on which a Zia sun symbol indicates the location of Santa Fe, the state capital.

The Zia Pueblo people are among numerous native tribes and communities in New Mexico. The sun symbol, representing the giver of all good, also appears on the state flag and license plates.

48. Arizona

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2008

Unique coin inscription: Grand Canyon State

Two impressive Arizona symbols appear on its quarter: The famed Grand Canyon shares space with an iconic saguaro cactus, which can grow to over 40 feet tall.

49. Alaska

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2008

Unique coin inscription: The Great Land

Alaska’s state quarter reminds people of the wild side of the 49th state, showing a grizzly bear about to enjoy a salmon lunch. A single star next to the name of our northernmost state symbolizes the North Star.

The phrase “The Great Land” on the quarter is a translation of the Aleutian word “Alyeska” from which the state gets its name.

50. Hawaii

Radomir Rezny / Shutterstock.com

Coin released: 2008

Unique coin inscription: Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono

Hawaii’s quarter honors its history, as King Kamehameha I stretches his hand toward the eight major Hawaiian Islands.

Kamehameha I founded the kingdom of Hawaii by uniting the islands in the early 1800s. The coin’s inscription is the state motto, which commonly translates to, “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

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