the film
Commentaries and editorials

Idaho Shouldn't Have
a Two-Bit Quarter

by Editors
Idaho State Journal, August 11, 2005

Want to design a commemorative quarter for Idaho? You have until Sept. 9 to submit your idea - or ideas - to the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

It's not as easy as you think.

For one thing, all the states ahead of Idaho have already used the most obvious ideas. There are lakes, trees, mountains, birds, boats and maps depicted on various quarters. There are historical figures, plants and animals already in use.

Not that Idaho shouldn't use its own people or features, of course. But that isn't so easy, either.

Tim Woodward of The Idaho Statesman says one thing we should not use is a geographic outline, or too many elements on the coin. No boats, either, or a hodge-podge. He leaves it to the governor to choose a design "which portrays Idaho as the beautiful state it is and doesn't reinforce its undeserved stereotypes."

Marty Trillhaase of The Idaho Falls Post-Register has a list of things which he thinks would be unsuitable on the new quarter, including the potato which turns off many in the northern part of the state. The historic Cataldo Mission has a Catholic legacy, Lewis and Clark have been used, covered wagons reflect the Oregon Trail. The late Sen. Frank Church, the late Gov. Bob Smylie and the late Sen. William E. Borah (who?) raise political issues. And no living person may be used.

Marty suggests the salmon would be ideal, an Idaho icon though the fish now seems to rank low with many politicians indifferent to its preservation.

Might we suggest going one step further, and put the Salmon River on the new coin. Except it should be identified as "The River of No Return," a stream entirely Idaho's, emblematic of all that is great about Idaho's outdoors.

The great thing about the commemorative quarter project is that everyone - not just politicians, artists, advertising geniuses, teachers or editorial writers - can submit ideas. The Idaho Commission on the Arts in Boise is taking suggestions until the Sept. 9 deadline. Gov. Kempthorne, working with the U.S. Mint and the Secretary of the Treasury, will choose a design to be released on new quarters in 2007.

Coin collectors already have the opportunity to own the new quarters issued so far, and the entire set of 50 will be offered by the U.S. Mint once the series is complete. Or, if you want to check every 25-cent piece in your change, you might be able to collect your own set for just $12.50.

Idaho's commemorative coin will be in circulation for 30 years. Let's do it right. This is no two-bit project.

Related Pages:
Idaho Commission on the Arts
Drawings Submitted to Idaho Statesman

Idaho Shouldn't Have a Two-Bit Quarter
Idaho State Journal, August 11, 2005

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