May 2, 2007

And the winner is...

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the five designs that were put to a vote for the Arizona state quarter. The results of that vote have been tabulated and the winning design is the Grand Canyon / Saguaro combination (see right). This was my second choice of the five. From the Arizona Republic:

The design for the Arizona quarter, chosen by Gov. Janet Napolitano from among five finalists, includes a "Grand Canyon State" banner across the middle of the quarter, separating the canyon view with multi-rayed sun above and a stately saguaro in a desert landscape below.


The Arizona quarter, 48th in the state-by-state series, will be released in 2008, followed by Alaska and Hawaii.

Saguaros are an iconic image of southern Arizona deserts in particular and the Southwest in general, while the Grand Canyon, a chasm carved thousands of feet into the Colorado Plateau by the Colorado River, is an international tourist attraction that first obtained federal protection in 1893 before becoming a national park in 1919.

The banner's placement across the middle of the combination design reflects the state quarter commission's request that the U.S. Mint, which produced the design, make it clear that saguaros do not grow at the Grand Canyon.

The canyon is located in northern Arizona at elevations where evergreen trees line the canyon's rim at some points.

"The (Mint) artist did a pretty good job by using that banner," said Tom Trompeter, a coin collector who served on the state's quarter commission. "It looks like two separate ideas."

Matthew Rounis, a fifth-grader who also served on the commission, said the combo design "represents the entire state, not just one section, and it also serves as a map of Arizona, since in the northern part you have the Grand Canyon and in the southern part you have the saguaro which is indigenous to those areas."

One of the other four finalist designs showed a version of the Grand Canyon scene by itself while a second consisted of the Saguaro desert landscape. The third showed 19th Century explorer John Wesley Powell in a boat on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and the fourth was of Navajo codetalkers - U.S. Marines who used their native language to thwart Japanese eavesdroppers during World War II.

The combination design was the overwhelming favorite on 112,830 entries submitted to an online poll conducted by Napolitano's office. The combo received twice as many first-place rankings than did either the Grand Canyon or saguaro designs, with the other two designs trailing.

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