The United States Mint (Mint) began shipping the fifth coin in the 2023 American Women Quarters™ (AWQ) Program on October 23. The Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver manufacture these circulating quarters honoring Maria Tallchief.
Maria Tallchief was America’s first major prima ballerina. The Osage Tribal Council gave Maria Tallchief a name selected by her grandmother, “Wa-Xthe-Thoṉba,” which translates to “Two Standards.” It reflects Tallchief’s life in two worlds – as an accomplished dance professional and as a member of the Osage Nation, two identities that she proudly represented throughout her life.
“The fifth coin of the 2023 American Women Quarters™ Program honors the life and legacy of Maria Tallchief,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “She broke barriers as a Native American ballet dancer, exhibiting strength and resilience both on and off the stage.”
United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Artist Ben Sowards designed the image, and United States Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna sculpted the image.
“Although her artistry, precision, and technical skill made her one of the most renowned ballerinas of her time, it is Maria Tallchief’s courage, perseverance, and strength of character that I hope is evident in the design,” said Sowards. “Her legacy continues to inspire us to pursue our dreams.”
The reverse (tails) of this coin features a depiction of Maria Tallchief spotlit in balletic pose and her Osage name, which translates to “Two Standards,” written in Osage orthography. Additional inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “QUARTER DOLLAR,” and “MARIA TALLCHIEF.”
The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday.
Though her work was a recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design. Of Fraser, Director Gibson said, “I am proud that the new obverse design of George Washington is by one of the most prolific women sculptors of the early 20th century. Laura Gardin Fraser’s work is lauded in both numismatic and artistic circles. Ninety years after she intended for it to do so, her obverse design has fittingly taken its place on the quarter.”
Obverse inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “2023.” The design is common to all quarters issued in the series.
Each 2023 AWQ honoree is a powerful, inspiring example of the breadth, depth, and range of accomplishments, and the experiences demonstrated by these extraordinary women speak to the contributions women have always made in the history of our country. Coins featuring additional honorees will continue to ship in 2023 through 2025.
View images of the Maria Tallchief quarter here.
Authorized by Public Law 116-330, the American Women Quarters™ Program features coins with reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of American women. Beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2025, the Mint is issuing five quarters in each of these years. The ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse group of individuals honored through this program reflects a wide range of accomplishments and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.
Please consult with your local banks regarding the availability of AWQ Program quarters honoring Maria Tallchief in the latter part of November or early December.
American Women Quarters
The pioneering American women celebrated on the quarters are listed below in the order the quarters will be released.
- Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
- Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space
- Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
- Nina Otero-Warren – suffrage leader and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
- Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood
- Bessie Coleman – first African American and first Native American woman licensed pilot
- Edith Kanakaʻole – indigenous Hawaiian composer, custodian of native culture and traditions
- Eleanor Roosevelt – leader, reformer, first lady, and author
- Jovita Idar – Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist
- Maria Tallchief – America’s first prima ballerina
- Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray – poet, writer, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest
- Patsy Takemoto Mink – first woman of color to serve in Congress
- Dr. Mary Edwards Walker – Civil War era surgeon, women’s rights and dress reform advocate
- Celia Cruz – Cuban-American singer, cultural icon, and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century
- Zitkala-Ša – writer, composer, educator, and political activist
- Ida B. Wells – investigative journalist, suffragist, and civil rights activist
- Juliette Gordon Low – founder of the Girl Scouts organization
- Dr. Vera Rubin – astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation
- Stacey Park Milbern – activist for people with disabilities
- Althea Gibson – multi-sport athlete and first Black athlete to break the color barrier at the highest level in tennis
This groundbreaking coin program is an excellent way to remind future generations what can be accomplished with vision, determination, and a desire to improve opportunities for all. Subscribe to the program today to ensure fulfillment of your favorite product through 2025.
About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.
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