Two contrasting state quarters from the beginning and the end of the project demonstrate the evolution of the state quarter. Georgia’s quarter, the fourth one released, looks very old school. The laurel wreath, the positive words, the outline of the state all show that the designers believed they were creating a state seal, which to the best of my knowledge, Georgia, as well as every other state, already has. The giant peach would be much better served if it was the only object on the quarter, was made 150% larger, and had little flattened specks of Aunties Sponge and Spiker on the bottom of it. Contrast the quarter to Wyomings, whose detail-less chrome cowboy appears to be the male counterpart to the infamous mudflap girl. Adorning Wyoming’s license plates with the same image gives the state an edge with branding, and also gives every bronco riding cowboy a chance to claim that they were the original model for the logo.
Winner: Wyoming – Sorry Georgia, we really love your peaches, but draw the line at shaking your tree.
Two titans face off in a mega-first round battle. Both put in textured versions of their states along with one stand out object and a slogan. Texas’ Lone Star is placed very nicely on top of the instantly recognizable state outline, though I question the legislature’s decision to swap out the design of Ozzy Osbourne taking a leak on the Alamo at the last moment. That would have gotten the kids interested in coin collecting! New York’s quarter is also quite nice. The Statue of Liberty looks great, as always, and “Gateway to Freedom” emphasizes the feeling many people had upon seeing her for the first time. And you know what? I think that it’s great that New York City was issued its own quarter! I have a blast every time I go there. But it’s inappropriate to consider it for victory in a state quarter contest.
Winner: Texas – By emphasizing the state, it presents a more united front than the big dog from the east
Nevada, which is evidently The Silver State, stumbles badly with their quarter design. When the first thing that springs to your mind upon viewing a state quarter is “Hey, that reminds me of the cover of that Poco album that there were always four copies of for 99 cents in the used vinyl section of the record store in college”, you have problems. It looks like a shirt that Napoleon Dynamite might wear. It’s quite possible that Nevada just took an old Lisa Frank trapper keeper design, erased the horns off of the unicorns, and slapped it on the quarter. It’s terrible. Fortunately for Nevada, it’s going up against Ohio. Evidently, someone called Ohio’s bluff on the “Birthplace of Aviation” claim they’ve been trotting out on license plates for years and they were forced to add the “pioneers” clarification to the quarter. This is because Kitty Hawk, North Carolina is the birthplace of aviation. Everyone knows this. That’s where the first flight took place. So Ohio’s quarter has the dubious distinction of being the only quarter to include spin on a false claim. Besides, any list of aviation pioneers that does not include Ham the Chimp is just plain incomplete.
Winner: Nevada – Let’s just move on before I start to get really angry
Most people are used to seeing Hawaii enclosed in a square, on the bottom left corner of their map of the US. If you can get over the shock of seeing it in a circle, you are treated to one of the most unique state quarters. Words that you can’t understand, and a rendering of the islands that make them look downright tiny compared to the colussus towering over them. I’m not proud of the fact that as far as I know, that could be either the most important political figure in the history of Hawaii or just a beloved local eccentric who poses for pictures with tourists outside of the Club Med. But the mystery is alluring. Maine on the other hand is located up on the exact opposite corner of your US Map placemat. The quarter, though unremarkable, does present its state in a flattering light. It looks like if you wanted to get away from it all, get some reading or writing done, do some sailing, and get the definitive word on whether or not you can indeed get to there from here, Maine would be your place to do it.
Winner: Hawaii – The serene beauty of Maine is dwarfed by the colossus of Hawaii and his mysterious message