Montana State Quarter
The Montana commemorative quarter-dollar coin was released on January 29th 2007 in Helena. It is the 41st coin in the United States Mint's 50 State Quarter Program. Montana was admitted into the Union on November 8, 1889, becoming our Nation's 41st state. The minting began on December 26, 2006. Edmund Moy, director of the U.S. Mint, said 500 million Montana quarters will be made over 10 weeks at facilities in Denver and Philadelphia, and no more will ever be made after that. The reverse of Montana's quarter features a bison skull and a portrayal of the diverse Montana landscape with the inscription "Big Sky Country." The coin also bears the inscriptions "Montana" and "1889." George Washington’s profile remains on the “heads” side of every quarter produced.
The bison skull is a powerful symbol, sacred to many of Montana's American Indian tribes. This symbol can be seen across the State on schools, businesses, road signs and license plates, and reflects the rich native tradition of Montana, which is home to large tribes such as the Crow and the Northern Cheyenne. After a visit from Lewis and Clark, Montana became a destination first for fur trappers and later for gold prospectors following the discovery of gold in the 1860s. Cattle ranchers also made their way west to Montana. The nickname "Big Sky Country" reminds residents of Montana's open lands and vast blue sky.
The recommended design was chosen based on feedback from the Montana Quarter Design Selection Commission, which was created by Governor Brian Schweitzer, and a subsequent public Internet vote. United States Mint sculptor-engravers and artists participating in the United States Mint's Artistic Infusion Program rendered the "Bison Skull" design and three others submitted to Governor Schweitzer. The designs were based on narratives submitted by Montana residents.
The Department of the Treasury approved the design on June 22, 2006. The other three designs considered were "Bull Elk," featuring a bull elk posed majestically on a rugged rock formation; "State Outline," showing mountains tapering to the eastern Montana plains; and "Big Sky with River," prominently featuring Montana's big sky with a river emerging from a mountain range.
- The cost for the U.S. Mint to manufacture a quarter is about 5 cents. A quarter is about 92 percent copper and 8 percent nickel. The approximate lifespan of a coin is 30 years. The two mints that produce coins, in Denver and Philadelphia, made about 15 billion coins in 2006, including 2.9 billion quarters. More than half the coins made were pennies.
- The state quarter program launched in 1999 and will wrap up in 2008, as five states per year are introduced in the order in which they attained statehood. Montana was followed, in 2007, by Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. Delaware was the first to circulate since it was the first state admitted to the Union. Hawaii, which became a state in 1959, will be the last quarter, at the end of 2008.