State quarter design features Kamehameha
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A 25-cent piece featuring the mighty profile of King Kamehameha, the eight main islands, our state motto (Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina e ka pono), admission year and — in case anyone doesn't get it — the word "Hawaii" will be jingling in pockets and purses across the U.S.
Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday announced formal approval of the Hawai'i commemorative quarter, the last of 50 such quarters to be authorized and issued by the U.S. Mint. It won't be out right away; several states that joined the union ahead of us are still waiting for their special coin.
But in the fall of 2008, the Hawai'i design will join 49 others in celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of our union. The first issued was from Delaware, featuring patriot and delegate to the 1776 Continental Congress Caesar Rodney.
The most recent in circulation comes from Washington state and features a leaping salmon and Mount Rainier.
In an unusual coincidence yesterday, given that Hawai'i and Alaska entered the Union in the same year of 1959, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also announced her choice for her state's quarter: the mighty grizzly, clutching a salmon in its jaws. It beat out a sled dog team, a polar bear and a gold-panner.
Hawai'i's coin will be issued after Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska get theirs.
Our design was based on recommendations from 36 people given the weighty title of the Hawai'i Commemorative Quarter Advisory Commission. They chose the design after looking at the results of an online poll. It beat out designs emblematic of what many people think of when they think of Hawai'i.
But Lingle said she was satisfied with the final choice.
The winning design might not be what tourists think of when they remember the Islands, such as hula girls, surfing or Diamond Head, but it is what many people who live here think, Lingle noted.
"It's what we feel of ourselves," the governor said.
One thing is missing from the quarter: There is no 'okina or glottal stop separating the two i's in the word Hawai'i, which is part of its proper spelling.
Lingle said she believes the quarter may be the most sought-after by collectors since it is the last and because so many people have visited the Islands.
The quarter commission that selected the design included individuals from across the state; representatives of various business, community, ethnic and other groups; a member of the Hawai'i Numismatic Association; and representatives from five high schools.
Actual designs of the finalists were developed by the mint.