The Northern Mariana Islands Quarter
The Northern Mariana Islands quarter is the sixth and final in the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program. A possession of Spain until 1898, the islands were sold to Germany in 1899. The islands were seized in 1914 by Japan, whose control was officially recognized in 1921 by the League of Nations. American forces occupied the Marianas during World War II, and in 1947 the group was included in the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Residents approved separate status for the Northern Marianas as a U.S. Commonwealth in 1975, and the covenant to establish the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was signed by President Gerald Ford the next year.
The Northern Mariana Islands quarter reverse design represents the wealth of the islands in its natural resources of land, air, and sea. Near the shore stands a large limestone latte, the supporting column of ancient indigenous Chamorro structures. A canoe of the indigenous Carolinians represents the people’s seafaring skills across vast distances. Two white fairy tern birds fly in characteristic synchrony overhead. A Carolinian mwar (head lei) composed of plumeria, langilang(ylang ylang), angagha (peacock flower) and teibwo (Pacific basil) borders the bottom of the design near the inscription, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS. The mwar is symbolic of the virtues of honor and respect.
Choosing the Design
The Northern Mariana Islands Quarter Commission solicited and reviewed narratives from the public and established three design narratives. These included two versions of the latte stone with Carolinian canoe and one of a World War II scene showing United States Marines and amphibious tractor on a beach and a destroyer outside a reef. These narratives were forwarded to the United States Mint for the production of artistic renderings, which were then proposed to the territory, with Northern Mariana Islands Governor Benigno R. Fitial making the final design recommendation. The Secretary of the Treasury approved the design on July 31, 2008.
The 50 State Quarter ProgramSigned into law in 1997, the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act has become the most successful numismatic program in American history, with roughly half of the U.S. population collecting the coins, either in a casual manner or as a serious pursuit. The program produces five different reverse designs each year for ten years—each representing a different state—the order of which is determined by the order states were admitted to the Union. Design concepts are submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury by state governors for final approval. The obverse of each quarter is a slight redesign of the quarter's previous design. The cost to manufacture a quarter is about 5 cents, providing a profit of approximately 20 cents per coin. So far, the federal government has made a profit of $4.6 billion from collectors taking the coins out of circulation. In 2009, the U.S. Mint launched a separate program issuing quarters commemorating the District of Columbia and various U.S. territories.
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|Release Date:||November 30, 2009|
Head lei (mwar)
"Northern Mariana Islands"
|Composition:||Copper Nickel alloy|
|Weight:||2.000 oz (5.670 g)|
|Diameter:||0.955 in (24.26 mm)|
|Thickness:||0.07 in (1.75 mm)|
|No. of Reeds:||119|
|Data Source: The U.S. Mint.|