Quarter protesters giving new look to current coins

Saturday, August 17, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's official state quarter is not due out for a year. But thousands of Missouri quarters are showing up now -- with stick-on designs of the Gateway Arch and explorers Lewis and Clark on the opposite side of George Washington's head.

The stickers are the latest protest of Columbia artist Paul Jackson, whose design won an Internet vote among Missourians but has been rejected by the U.S. Mint.

A Mint spokesman said Friday that Jackson is wasting his time -- and money.

Jackson's design is not among the four finalists for the Missouri quarter under review by the treasury secretary and his protests will not change that, said Mint spokesman Doug Hecox.

Three of the four final designs show an outline of the state of Missouri. One is overlaid with a settlers' wagon, another with a steamboat and the third with a Pony Express rider. The fourth design shows an American Indian on a bluff overlooking settlers' wagons.

The treasury secretary is expected to recommend one of the designs to Gov. Bob Holden by September. Holden has the final say on which design is chosen. The governor has said he will allow Missourians to vote again.

Missouri's quarter is scheduled to begin circulation in early August 2003, Hecox said.

Jackson claims the Mint has misled the public by promising that artists could design quarters and then disregarding the state's submissions.

In recent weeks, his supporters have protested at the Missouri Capitol. Now they are passing out quarters bearing Jackson's stick-on design.

"We're not defacing money, we're refacing it," Jackson said.

The Mint said Jackson's ploy is legal because the stickers can be removed. Hecox said his design was rejected primarily because the Mint plans to issue a Lewis and Clark commemorative dollar with a similar design.

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