The Washington State Commemorative Quarter

History, Facts, and Figures

Washington State Quarter with a king salmon breaching water with Mount Rainier in the distance.
The Washington State Quarter depicts a king salmon breaching water with Mount Rainier in the distance.   The United States Mint

The Washington State Quarter was quickly nicknamed the "first 100% Washington Quarter" with good reason! It is the State of Washington's commemorative quarter that The United States Mint issued as part of the 50 State Quarters series.

History of Washington State

Originally, the Spanish claimed the land that is currently known as the state of Washington in 1775. In 1778, the British explorer, Captain James Cook, charted the coastline and claimed the land for England.

Hostilities ensued, and to avoid war, the two countries agreed to respects one another settlements and not threaten their commercial activities.

In 1803, the United States of America acquired this land as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Thomas Jefferson commissioned Captain Meriwether Lewis from the United States Army and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark to explore the area. Their initial reports inspired fur traders to settle in their region.

Initially, the region was referred to as The Columbia Territory and was established on March 2, 1853. Legislatures from the territory petition for statehood and 1878 but failed due to border disputes and insufficient population. When a new Congress was seated in 1888, they passed legislation that enabled The Columbia Territory to become the new state of Washington.

The Washington Quarter is "100% Washington."

The Washington Quarter was officially issued on April 11, 2007, although the quarters had been up for sale on the U.S. Mint's website since about ten days earlier.

This quarter is the 42nd in the Statehood Quarter Dollar series, which commemorates each states' admission into the union.

The Union admitted the State of Washington on November 11, 1889, and this date appears on the reverse along with the design elements chosen by the citizens of Washington State. The coin's obverse has the standard portrait of first U.S. President George Washington, after whom the State of Washington is named.

For this reason, residents of the State of Washington call this the first "100% Washington Quarter." Not only is President Washington represented on the obverse, but Washington State and its people are represented by the design choices they made on the reverse.

The Washington Quarter Designs                                                                        

The designs on the reverse of the Washington State Quarter feature a king salmon leaping out of a lake's water, with Mount Rainier standing watch in the distance. Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is a potent symbol of the Pacific Northwest and the powerful forces that define the geography of this beautiful state.

The king salmon, shown breaching the water, is an important fish in Washington State's ecosystem. It was included in the coin's design partly to pay tribute to the Native American residents who relied on it for sustenance before the arrival of American pioneers, and partly because it is an iconic image of the Pacific Northwest.

The Washington State Nickname, The Evergreen State, appears on the reverse just below Mount Rainier. The nickname is a reference to the plentiful, lush evergreen forestland to be found in Washington State.

Charles Vickers, a member of the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program, engraved the reverse.

Specifications

Denomination:

Quarter

Authorized Mintage Maximum:

N/A

Production Facility:

San Francisco

Public Law Number:

105

Congressional Number:

124

Approval Date:

12/01/1997

Mintage Figures

Circulation Strike, Philadelphia

265,200,000

Circulation Strike, Denver

280,000,000

Proof Strike, Clad, San Francisco

2,374,778

Proof Strike, Silver, San Francisco

1,313,481

Obverse Description 

The obverse of the Washington State Quarter features a bust of President George Washington. The inscriptions on the coin include United States of America, Liberty, In God We Trust, and Quarter Dollar.

Obverse Designer 1: John Flanagan

Obverse Designer 2: William Cousins; Modified from John Flanagan original design

Reverse Description

Released on April 2, 2007, this coin is the 42nd coin released in the 50 State® Quarter Program and the second quarter released in 2007.

The year 1889 is indicative of the state of Washington being admitted into the Union on November 11, 1889. "The Evergreen State" as the state's nickname and is also contained on the reverse. Highlighted on the coin is an image of a salmon breaching the water in front of majestic Mount Rainer. Inscriptions on the reverse include The Evergreen State, Washington,1889, E Pluribus Unum, and 2007. President William J. Clinton was in office when this legislation was signed. Three United States Mint Directors served under President Clinton’s tenure; David J. Ryder of Idaho, Philip N. Diehl of Texas, and Jay W. Johnson of Wisconsin.

Reverse Designer 1: Susan Gample

Reverse Designer 2: Charles Vickers, Sculpter Engraver

Edited by: James Bucki