Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No Quarter (Part III)

So I’ve been doing an “American’s Top Forty” Countdown on the commemorative quarters the mint has been churning out. And most of the make me miss the old eagle that graced the back for many years. But the Class of 2001 didn’t really suck that bad.

New York
Finally, a quarter that gets around to putting Liberty on it. It almost makes up for the cardinal sin of putting the state outline to remind people what New York looks like. Actually, this is the most urban quarter so far, such that instead of “Gateway to Freedom” they really could have just said “Gateway to the Rest of the New York”.

Rating B= Not Bad – Liberty redeems the state shape.

North Carolina
Nice coin, single image, recognizable event. Just as New York is more than just the Statue of Liberty, North Carolina is more than just an experiment on the dunes of Hatteras, but that is the best, longest-lasting image of the state.

Rating A = Kinda Cool.

Rhode Island
They went with the title, “The Ocean State” even though native game company Hasbro offered to let them use “The Shrinky-Dink state” And the write-up says the coin represents the state’s most popular sport as sailing, when really it is pull-tabs and driving the ten minutes to Foxboro to root for the Pats.

But actually, the big sailboat is a nice design, and, like the Connecticut quarter subtly calls attention to it in your hand with broad expanse of cloth. A quiet, surprising little coin, just like the state itself.

Rating A = Kinda Cool.

Well, I guess they couldn’t put Bob Newhart as an innkeeper on the coin. But the initial impression of the sap-gathering quarter is kinda boring, and when you dig deeper, it gets worse. The motto “Freedom and Unity” is both contradictory and co-dependent, and does not connect with the rest of the coin (freedom from store-bought maple syrup? unity with the trees?). And apparently the lumpy shadow in the background is “The Camel’s Hump” which is to Vermonts what the “Old Man of the Mountain” is the New Hampshirites. This mountain (which has NOT fallen down) was in EVERY suggestion submitted for this coin.

I mean, that’s just DESPERATE.

Rating C = Kinda Lame

Interesting coverup going on here – The writeup says that the building (Federal Hill) was where Stephen Foster (Native of Pittsburgh) wrote “My Old Kentucky Home”, but other sources indicate he was merely inspired for the song there. And it wasn’t his home anyway, it was his cousins, the Rowans. But “Rowans' Old Kentucky Home” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Sadly, even with this mild air of controversy, it’s a pretty forgettable coin.

Rating C = Kinda Lame.

And that is the five for 2001. A shout out to Scarletina who has picked up on these rantings.

More later,