The U.S. Virgin Islands Quarter
The U.S. Virgin Islands quarter is the fifth in the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program. These islands, located in the Caribbean Sea east of Puerto Rico, were explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493. They were first inhabited by the Arawak, Taino, and later the Carib Indians, and colonized by Denmark beginning in 1666. During the Napoleonic Wars, the islands were occupied by the English from 1801 to 1802 and from 1807 to 1815.
"Virgin Islands Beauty"
Originally named the Danish West Indies, the United States purchased the three islands—St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John—along with approximately 50 islets from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. Congress granted American citizenship to residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1927. Under the Revised Organic Act of 1954, the U.S. Virgin Islands was provided a substantial amount of self-government, including the creation of a central government with distinct executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for most of its gross domestic product and 70 percent of employment on the islands.
The U.S. Virgin Islands quarter reverse features an outline of the three major islands, the yellow breast or banana quit, its official bird; the yellow cedar or yellow elder, the official flower; and a Tyre palm tree with the inscriptions U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS and "United in Pride and Hope," the official motto of the territory.
Choosing the Design
A review committee established by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John deJongh developed three design narratives for the reverse of the territory’s quarter: the islands, yellow breast and yellow cedar ("Virgin Islands Beauty"), a male conch shell blower, and three women symbolizing the three major islands. These narratives were forwarded to the United States Mint for the production of artistic renderings, which were then proposed to the territory, where the public voted in favor of recommending the "Virgin Islands Beauty" design. 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:||September 28, 2009|
Tyre palm tree
"United in Pride and Hope"
|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.|