(NEXSTAR) – Between 1999 and 2008, the U.S. Mint produced some of the most commonly collected coins – the 50 State Quarters.
Just as the name implies, a separate quarter was minted for every state during the program, according to the U.S. Mint. Every year, five new quarters were issued, following the order in which the states ratified the Constitution or were admitted into the Union.
On the reverse of each is a unique design of state features or iconic moments in history. The Kansas quarter, for example, features a buffalo and sunflowers – the state animal and state flower, respectively. New York’s quarter features the state, the Statue of Liberty, and the slogan “Gateway to Freedom,” a nod to Ellis Island.
But what about Texas?
The Texas quarter was released in 2004 with Michigan, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin. It features an outline of the state with a superimposed star and the slogan “The Lone Star State.” A lariat – a nod to the cattle and cowboy history of the state, and its frontier spirit – encircles the design. At the top of the quarter is 1845, the year Texas became a state.
Texas, like many other states when the commemorative quarter program began, turned to its residents for a design. Almost 2,600 design concepts were submitted, according to the Mint, 17 of which were selected as finalists by the Texas Numismatic Association.
The Texas Quarter Dollar Coin Design Advisory Committee then reviewed the designs, narrowing the options down to five. Then-Governor Rick Perry selected and submitted the preferred design, which was created by artist Daniel Miller of Arlington. It was ultimately approved by the Secretary of the Treasury.
The quarter was unveiled during a kick-off celebration in front of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin in June 2004. The event featured mariachi and free barbecue, according to the Mint.
Compared to other state quarters, some may call the Texas design underwhelming. Illinois, for example, features President Abraham Lincoln and the Chicago skyline. Arizona has the Grand Canyon and a Saguaro cactus. But the Texas design was perfect for its creator.
“My objective was to create something big and bold,” Miller explained in an article featured in the show guide for the American Numismatic Association’s Fall National Money Show that was held in October 2012. He noted that he didn’t include a longhorn or an armadillo because he felt one animal couldn’t effectively represent the Lone Star State.
A member of the advisory committee, Chairman Mike Ross, said many submissions included references to the Alamo, longhorns, oil wells, the space program, and the state flower, bluebonnets. Designs including roadkill and Dallas’ grassy knoll were also submitted.
Ross mentioned that the final decision was “not the one I would have selected.”
At the time, Perry said the quarter helped to show the independent spirit of Texans, My Plainview reports.
“This Texas quarter will serve as a timeless representation of our state’s proud and storied history,” he said. “When Americans reach into their pockets and purses…this quarter will remind all of the proud and rich history of the state that was once its own sovereign nation.”
Nearly 542 million Texas state quarters were minted and distributed. They were among the top revenue-generating, according to the Mint, as were those for other highly populated states like California, Michigan, New York, and Florida.