Thursday, April 12, 2007

No Quarter (Part VIII)

So about a year ago, this space went on at length and ad nauseum about the collectible fifty-state quarters. You can find the ramblings here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Now, Washington State officially rolled out its 2007 Quarter (Fishzilla) yesterday, so its a good time to look at the latest in twenty-five cee technology. And I figure the mental scars may have healed since last time.

So as a reminder here are the rules that you may have a lame quarter:
If you have to remind people what your state looks like, you may have a lame quarter.
If you use a variety of different-sized objects, you may have a lame quarter.
If one of those objects is produce, you may have a lame quarter,
If you have to label the illustration, you may have a lame quarter.
If, after you label the illustration, people still think it is something else, you DEFINITELY have a lame quarter.

The rating system will be, from top to bottom
Cool = A
Not Bad = B
Kinda Lame = C
Very Lame = D

Alright, turn over your papers and begin.

So the first thing you think of when you think of Nevada is the slot machines. I mean the strippers. I mean all-you-eat buffet. OK, OK, Nevada has a problem. You can't even show the Vegas skyline because the buildings there get blown up more often than downtown Baghdad. So this is a surprising little coin in that it is depicts a natural scene of wild horses, with a lot of elements that actually work together to create a visually pleasing design that is not too muddled and has a nice finished feel to it.

The only downside I can point out is that subject could apply to most of the states of the union. But it really looks like they got a talented artist to put this together.

Rating - A - Cool

Ah, Nebraska! Raise you mighty geological digit to the sky, so as to declare to the world "Take your huddled masses over the border to Kansas, and don't let the door hit you on the butte". Seriously, is this like the highest elevation in that state? Is that why it's important?

Actually, for all the snarkiness, it doesn't break any of lameness rules, which really should give it a passing mark.

Rating - B - Not Bad. Really a B-, but that's splitting hairs.


Yeah, remember the movie "Deep Impact" at the end where everyone is running up the hillside as the Atlantic Ocean came in with a really big wave? The ultimate surf's up? OK, that's what this coin made me think of. I mean, if any state is going to claim the Rockies, Colorado gets the nod, but I just don't know what this particular thrust of rock is and why it is superior to the bajillion other thrusts of rock that crinkle the western end of this state. Still, its a lot better than showing the state shape. I was really expecting a square coin.

Rating = B - Not Bad

North Dakota

OK, Kansas, I'll SEE your buffalo and RAISE you a buffalo.. And I'll toss in a mesa and the sunburst thingie from Nevada coin. And, like the Nevada coin, it does a good job creating a scene that evokes a feeling for the state above the State Flower/Bird/Motto mode we've seen elsewhere. In addition, the smoothness of the buffalo's flanks feels good with the rougher raised texture of its mane. Any other animal, and it would have felt too busy - the "white space" created by the bison itself makes it an attractive coin.

Rating = A - Cool

South Dakota

You'd think I'd gone soft, with all of these B and A ratings, but to be honest, almost all the class of 2006 avoided the horrid mistakes and disasters of the crew back east. They actually got beyond the point of making the coin a dumping ground of civic objects and instead using it to evoke a mood.

And then we have South Dakota. OK, they use Mt. Rushmore - if you're going for a tourist attraction, what else is there in SoDak? But Rushmore is a LONG attraction on a ROUND coin, so they have a lot of empty space above it?

What to put into it? How about Rodan, from the old Godzilla movies? Yes, here we see the great winged creature, his strings airbrushed out, hovering above the mountainside, just about to swoop down and, flapping his wings, generating gusts that will take out all the tourist mobile homes on the road below. The Godzilla shows up and they wrestle and someone breaks off Lincoln's nose.

Well, the rest of the year wasn't that bad, at least.

Rating - C - Kinda Lame

Next time, we go from the sublime to the ridiculous, with Fishzilla on the Washington State Quarter being the high point.

More later,