Washington — The United States Mint (Mint) will begin shipping the second coin in the 2023 American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program. The Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver manufacture these circulating quarters honoring Edith Kanakaʻole.
Edith Kanakaʻole preserved Native Hawaiian knowledge, culture, traditions, and history through Hula and chanting. Her efforts and work preserved the history, culture heritage, and way of life of an entire people. Her commitment to preserving Native Hawaiian traditional knowledge, teaching environmental conservation to future generations, serving the Hawaiian community at large, and applying a new lens to academic science, makes her a clear role model for all Americans.
“The second coin of the 2023 American Women Quarters Program honors the life and legacy of Edith Kanakaʻole,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “She was a renowned practitioner of, and an authority on, modern Hawaiian culture and language. Edith Kanakaʻole believed that the oli, or Hawaiian chants, formed the basis of Hawaiian values and history. She learned this art form and performed all the major styles of delivery.”
The reverse (tails) was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Emily Damstra, and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Renata Gordon.
“It was a joy to become aware of Edith Kanakaʻole’s legacy as I developed a design for her quarter,” said Damstra. “I wanted to create a design that emphasized Kanakaʻole’s relationship with the environment. I came to understand that her deep connection to the land — her home in Hawai’i near the Mauna Kea volcano — played a large role in her life and work.”
The reverse depicts a portrait of Edith Kanakaʻole, with her hair and lei poʻo (headband) morphing into the elements of a Hawaiian landscape, symbolizing Kanakaʻole’s life’s work of preserving the natural land and traditional Hawaiian culture. The inscription “E hō mai ka ʻike” translates as “granting the wisdom,” and is a reference to the intertwined role hula and chants play in this preservation. Additional inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “25¢,” and “EDITH KANAKAʻOLE.”
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. 90 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 from 2023 through 2025.
View images of the Edith Kanakaʻole quarter here.
In addition to Edith Kanakaʻole, the AWQ honorees for 2023 are:
- Bessie Coleman — pilot, advocate, and pioneer who flew to great heights as the first African American and first Native American woman pilot, as well as the first African American to earn an international pilot’s license.
- Eleanor Roosevelt — first lady, author, reformer, and leader. As chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, where she oversaw the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and as the chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, she advocated diligently for the civil liberties and needs of the poor, minorities, and the disadvantaged.
- Jovita Idar — a Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist. She devoted her life to fighting against separatist ideologies and sought to create a better future for Mexican Americans.
- Maria Tallchief — America’s first prima ballerina. She broke barriers as a Native American ballerina who exhibited strength and resilience on and off the stage.
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 Edith Kanakaʻole in the middle to the latter part of April.
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.
Press release courtesy of the United States Mint
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