CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the design for the Illinois commemorative quarter at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The Illinois quarter, first in the 50 States Commemorative Quarter Program to be released in 2003, will pay tribute to Illinois’ heritage and the state’s past, present, and future role as a leader in agriculture and industry.
“The Illinois commemorative quarter will encourage the youth of the United States to explore Illinois, its history and geography, as well as the rich diversity of our heritage,” said Governor Ryan. “I am proud that Lincoln is standing boldly in the center of the design. His resolve and example mean a great deal to people in Illinois and throughout the world.”
The design incorporates a farm setting and the Chicago skyline along with a young Abraham Lincoln superimposed on an outline of the State of Illinois. Also included is the State Slogan, “Land of Lincoln,” as well as 21 stars and the inscription “21st State/21st Century”. The design was inspired by artwork submitted to the Governor by Thom Cicchelli of Chicago.
The image of Lincoln in the design is from "The Resolute Lincoln", a sculpture by Avard Fairbanks that depicts Lincoln at a pivotal time in his development. It is meant to reflect a turning point in Lincoln’s career and the changes that Lincoln went through during the six years he spent in New Salem, where he resolves to put down the ax and pick up the book. The statue, dedicated in 1954 as a gift to the State of Illinois from the National Society of the Son of Utah Pioneers, is located in New Salem State Historic Site.
The “Land of Lincoln” slogan was adopted in 1955 by the General Assembly. In that same year, the U.S. Congress passed a special act granting to the State of Illinois a copyright for exclusive use of the “Land of Lincoln” insignia. The inscription “21st State/21st Century” describes Illinois’ historical role as the 21st state to ratify the Constitution and the state’s present and future role in the Union.
“Illinois is recognized internationally as a leader in agriculture and industry, and we have worked hard for decades to build the best cities, farms, and schools to support our leadership role,” said Governor Ryan. “I can think of no better design to illustrate the accomplishments of past, present, and future generations.”
In January 2001, Governor George H. Ryan announced a public input period, sponsored a statewide quarter design program for students and adults, and launched a Commemorative Quarter Web site to help facilitate the design selection process. Governor Ryan formed a quarter review committee comprised of educators, state personnel, and numismatists. In addition, First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan invited 14 teenagers to serve on a Futures for Kids review panel.
The Governor received over 6,000 ideas for the Illinois quarter via mail and e-mail. Based on recommendations from the quarter committee and youth panel, Governor Ryan forwarded five themes to the Mint in April 2001. The Mint created candidate designs based on the themes and recently presented them to the Governor and First Lady for their final selection.
The Commemorative Quarter Program™ is a 10-year initiative, beginning in 1999 and concluding in 2008, commemorating each of the 50 United States. State's quarters are issued in the order in which they ratified the Constitution and joined the Union. Illinois will be honored in 2003, along with Alabama, Maine, Missouri, and Arkansas. State designs are displayed on the reverse of the quarters. The obverse of the quarters will continue to display the image of George Washington.