Collectors (including my in-laws on the Mainland) will be delighted because the long-anticipated commemorative Hawaii quarter was released today. It’s available from local banks at face value in $10 rolls or from specialty quarter dealers for up to 10 times face value for uncirculated coins.
The final design–King Kamehameha, Hawaii’s iconic ruler who united all the islands in the 1800s–reflects one aspect of Hawaii’s history that is unique: it was an independent kingdom before being colonized during the Spanish-American war by the United States.
Other competing quarter designs that were eliminated include an image of Diamond Head with a surfer and a hula dancer. In the end, the committee wanted an image uniquely Hawaiian and easily recognizable without reading the words on the coin.
On the winning design, there is a map of the main Hawaiian islands and the state’s motto in Hawaiian, “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono.” The motto translates to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” In other words, doing the right thing allows the people and land to endure.
Hawaii quarter marks the end of the wildly popular 50-state quarter program, with perhaps as many 150 million people participating in collecting. The Hawaii quarter is the last of the 50 state quarters to be released during the decade-old program because Hawaii was the final state to join the union.
Links to other articles about the Hawaii Quarter: