Having written more words than probably anyone (excluding Bunnicula series author James Howe) on the subject of State Quarters, I’ve received numerous inquiries regarding when I am going to tackle the newly released US Territory Quarters. My response was always the same: What?
Yes, the existence of these quarters was long considered to be a mere rumor, the Loch Ness Monster of the currency world (I covered the Bigfoot here.) But then on a trip through Oregon, I received the District of Columbia quarter and realized that I would eventually have to cover these guys to bring the Most Awesome State Quarter tournament to an official close.
Would any of the quarters have stood a chance in the original tournament? Short answer: absolutely not. Let’s face it. These quarters are going to be the first time most American’s have heard of any of these places, and as far as first impressions go, many of them don’t measure up. Could they have eliminated Ohio? Of course. Minnesota? Obviously. But Alaska? Please.
But just because they couldn’t snag a spot in the finals, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t review the Territory Quarters, (actual official name: the “2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarter Program”. Because they wanted something catchy. )
Known for: inventing the best variety of Girl Scout Cookie
What they put on the Quarter instead: The Roman Colosseum and a pencil topped with Treasure Troll hair
Thoughts: Do they still make those Trolls? Who owns the rights to those things?
State Quarter it most resembles: The round thing, undoubtedly some structure of great historical import that was probably built before America was independent, reminds me of the wheel of cheese on Wisconsin’s
Known for: The legendary Led Zeppelin “Live From Guam” bootleg, where Robert Plant is showered with boos after he mistakenly says “It’s great to be here in Detroit!”
What they put on the quarter instead: A birdbath
Thoughts: Doesn’t Guam look a lot like Lake Michigan? Don’t they both look vaguely-wangish? Can you use the phrase “Vaguely-wangish” in a sentence today?
State Quarter it most resembles: Michigan crossed with Rhode Island (Note: first time this combination has ever been used to describe anything)
Known for: Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente
What they put on the quarter instead: A building which, though it remains unidentified, I am positive must be connected to Roberto Clemente in some way. Dude’s like Bob Marley in Jamaica down there.
Thoughts: I wonder what the top of that tower looks like on Google Earth
State Quarter it most resembles: New Mexico’s motto “Land of Enchantment” is pretty exotic sounding, but by adding on “Is” to the front of it, Puerto Rico’s not only gets to be more exotic, but gets them more points in Scrabble
District of Columbia
Known for: Mayor once said “Bitch set me up”. Also, capitol of entire nation.
What they put on the quarter instead: Duke Ellington, emphasizing the proud musical heritage of DC, a heritage that came to a screeching halt with the advent of Go-Go
Thoughts: The nickname “Duke”
really ought to make a comeback. Also, in the spirit of DC vendors, perhaps they should have gone with a bootleg shirt of Calvin with “Taxation without representation” printed underneath it.
State Quarter it most resembles: Alabama. Putting famous people who lived well into the 20th century is a bold maneuver employed only by DC, Alabama and California (John Muir died in 1914, but his beard lived on into the early 1950s)
Northern Mariana Islands
Known for: Surprising people that it is a US Territory
What they put on the quarter instead: Paradise
Thoughts: Where is this place and how do I get there.
State Quarter it most resembles: Bears an eerie resemblance to Maine, though I doubt the Mariana’s have bone-chilling winters or horror authors who once wrote a short story from the perspective of a castaway who keeps a journal as he slowly eats himself. On second thought, maybe I’ll avoid any island journeys.
US Virgin Islands
Known for: Kicking the British Virgin Islands ass in softball
What they put on the quarter instead: Some crap about pride and hope
Thoughts: Obviously a ploy to downplay the island’s attractiveness to deter Spring Breakers. May as well have printed “Nothing to see here, Arizona State students! Keep moving! The cops at Lake Havasu totally look the other way with drinking!”
State Quarter it most resembles: Bird, tree and flower are all traits shared by Oklahoma and South Carolina. This is where the similarities end, however.