American Women Quarter Series
Authorized by the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-330), the American Women Quarters Program is a four-year series that celebrates the accomplishments made by a diverse group of American women from a wide range of fields to the development and history of the United States. The women will come from fields that include but are not limited to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.
Each year from 2022 through 2025, up to five new quarters will be issued each year with a new reverse design featuring an image of the particular woman being honored with that coin, while the obverse will feature a different profile of George Washington than the John Flanagan portrait that appeared on the Washington Quarter from 1932 to 2021.
The design by renowned American sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser, who designed several classic U.S. commemorative coins and was the first woman to design an American coin, was first recommended to be the design of the new Washington Bicentennial Coin in 1932 but was rejected in favor of Flanagan’s design by then-Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon. Fraser’s design of a right-facing Washington looking very determined now triumphantly reemerges on the new American Women Quarters. The design has appeared on another coin, the 1999 Washington $5 Gold Commemorative issued for the 200th anniversary of Washington’s death in 1789.
Each coin is made for circulation and collectors. Coins struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints are issued for circulation, and coins struck at the San Francisco Mint in circulation quality are made for collectors and sold in sets of three rolls – one from each mint – at a premium. There are also Proof and mint state coins struck for annual sets, including those struck in .999 fine silver.
The Secretary of the Treasury selects the honorees following consultation with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. In 2021, the public was invited to submit recommendations for potential honorees through a web portal established by the National Women’s History Museum. The reverse design concepts for each coin were also developed through a consultative process, and then the Mint’s artists created designs that were reviewed by the two design committees, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, before final selection by the Treasury Secretary.
For 2022, the quarters issued honor writer, performer, and social activist Maya Angelou; astronaut, physicist, and teacher Dr. Sally Ride; the first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller; a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and first superintendent of Santa Fe schools Nina Otero-Warren; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American film star.
The 2023 American Woman Quarters honor the first African American and the first Native American female pilot, Bessie Coleman; renowned Hawaiian cultural practitioner, composer, and expert hula dancer Edith Kanaka’ole; longest-serving First Lady and human rights and social justice advocate, Eleanor Roosevelt; pioneering Mexican-American journalist, educator, and activist who championed civil rights and social justice, Jovita Idar; and Osage Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief, who revolutionized the world of dance and was the United States’ first major prima ballerina.