Explorers picked for new quarter

Saturday, November 23, 2002

The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The results are in, and the winner in Missouri's great quarter election is a design that mixes Missouri's past with its present.

The quarter design, unveiled Friday by first lady Lori Hauser Holden, features explorers from the Corps of Discovery expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Three explorers are depicted paddling on a river beneath St. Louis' Gateway Arch. On either side of the river are trees. And above the arch is the phrase "Corps of Discovery" with the dates 1804 and 2004. Also on the quarter is Missouri's date of admission to the union, 1821, and the year the quarter is to begin circulation, 2003.

The Mint is releasing quarters for each state in the order they gained statehood. The quarter for Missouri, the 24th state, is scheduled for circulation next August.

The winning design was based on a concept by Columbia artist Paul Jackson, who had protested the U.S. Mint's modifications -- going so far as to distribute thousands of stickers with his original design and encouraging people to place them on the "tails" side of quarters.

'Bittersweet'

"It's kind of bittersweet, but I'm pleased," Jackson said Friday in a telephone interview from an art show in Pensacola, Fla. "I think the people of the state of Missouri just sent the Mint a big message -- they voted on the worst of the five renderings, in my opinion."

Mrs. Holden said 217,467 votes were cast, most over the Internet, during the past couple weeks for the five designs that had been submitted to Missouri by the U.S. Mint. All five were based on concepts initially submitted to the Mint after a similar election in April 2001.

The first lady declined to release the vote totals for each quarter or to say whether Jackson's design was her personal favorite. But she said, "I think this quarter will represent Missouri's proud heritage."

Two of the other designs depicted wagons heading west, one with an American Indian watching from a hill. Another design showed a steamboat, while another depicted a Pony Express rider.

The winning quarter, as redrawn by the Mint, kept Jackson's original concept of explorers in a boat under the Arch. But almost all the details are different.

For example, Jackson had drawn two men -- intended to be Lewis and Clark -- in a canoe. The Mint's design has three people in a wider dugout boat. The Arch also looks different, as do the trees. And the words and dates are in different places.

Jackson calls the Mint's version a "bad reproduction" that makes it look like the explorers are paddling up the river by going down hill.

Mint spokesman Michael White said the changes were intended to make the scene more historically accurate and more conducive to engraving.

For example, "the research we did indicated foliage along the bank of the Missouri at that time was not real lush and thick," White said. "The other reason is when you're drawing something on a coin, you draw a tree in certain way so that it looks like a tree."

White said the Mint had agreed to slightly change the appearance of the Arch, but no other changes are planned.

The first lady, who was named to lead the quarter contest by Gov. Bob Holden, said she was satisfied with the Mint's rendering of Jackson's design.

"We knew from the very beginning that the U.S. Mint had the right to make adaptations to the design concepts, all the artists knew that as well," she said.

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