Friday, November 30, 2007

3 More Quarters

Rhode Island Date Quarter Released: May 21, 2001 (13th) Statehood: May 29, 1790

The problem with Rhode Island is that it doesn’t really have an identity. With most states, you can at least imagine something about it when someone mentions that they are going there. But with Rhode Island, mention of the State evokes what? That it is the smallest state? That is has the longest official name of any state? (Although that last factoid is something that only major trivia geeks like myself actually know). That is not exactly the kind of inspiring, soaring motto that people in the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” would want to include on their quarter.

As for what the good people of Rhode Island actually chose for their quarter, the Pell Bridge over Narragansett Bay is not a bad choice. The bridge is an impressive structure, and the bay itself is basically the ocean. So a quarter that shows a sailboat on the bay with the moniker “The Ocean State” is not bad for an otherwise unremarkable state. Aesthetically, the design is pedestrian, so I rate it between Caesar Rodney and Connecticut’s tree.

Vermont Date Quarter Released: August 6, 2001 (14th) Statehood: March 4, 1791

Here is another one of those quarters that is such a let down when I see it. Some guy harvesting sap from maple trees? They didn’t want to go with the Green Mountain Boys? Oh well, I guess we should expect sap from the Howard Dean administration. I do credit the designers for the subtle inclusion of the Camel’s Hump Mountain landmark in the background. The mountain rises unobtrusively on the landscape, and seems like a natural part of the scene. This is a refreshing change from some state quarters whose designers have disjointedly crammed stuff from the state onto the back of the quarter like it is a sale table at a trailer park yard sale.

I take the dread and boredom I feel when I see this quarter, and leaven it with my admiration for the design and I rank this one squarely in the middle of the pack. It ranks below the RI sailboat and Vermont’s two trees beat out Connecticut’s one.

Kentucky Date Quarter Released: October 15, 2001 (14th) Statehood: June 1, 1792

This one is the bluegrass version of the Rhode Island quarter. A field, a house and a horse replace the sailboat, ocean and bridge, but otherwise, it is the same design. The elements make sense for Kentucky; composer Stephen Foster’s “Old Kentucky Home” in Bardstown and a thoroughbred racehorse. The design is undeniably sensible, but, I think we all have to admit, it lacks a certain pizzazz. No garland of roses for this one. It ties with its sister, Rhode Island.