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Kansas State Quarter

Kansas quarterThe Kansas state quarter, issued in 2005, was part of the U.S. Mint's effort to provide a quarter for each state and to serve a new generation of coin collectors. Quarters were minted in chronological order, five per year from 1999 to 2008. Delaware was the first state quarter to be minted; Kansas was the 34th. In 2009 the U.S. Mint added Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories. They measure 24.26 millimeters in diameter and 1.75 millimeters in thickness. Each state had the opportunity to choose a unique design.

Kansas high school students helped select the final design of the state's quarter through a special election; 40,080 ballots were cast. They selected the buffalo and the sunflower to represent Kansas.

Students understood the importance of the buffalo, which once roamed North America. For thousands of years buffalo provided meat, clothing, shelter, and dozens of other essential items for people who lived on the plains. Then in the late 1800s buffalo were hunted to near extinction and became endangered. Today it is against the law to hunt buffalo.

The first Kansas quarter was struck on July 18, 2005, at the U.S. Mint in Denver, Colorado. A number of Kansans attended the special event. On September 9, 2005, the Kansas quarter was unveiled at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. U. S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius carried a bag of the quarters in a stagecoach. The U.S. Mint gave away about 50,000 quarters that day at the fair. Artist Stan Herd created an earthwork version of the Kansas quarter in a nearby field in Reno County. These quarters are expected to remain in circulation for about 30 years.

Jonathan Holden, the first Kansas poet laureate, wrote an official poem for the release.

By Jonathan Holden

It is hard to imagine
these undulating plains,
fields of sunflower,
the oasis of walnut grove,
wild grape and blackberries,
the buffalo in a state of nurturance
grazing the grasses, grounded
in fact, this land will provide
for the Kick-a-poo, the Kanza,
the Pawnee, the Potawatomi
before the settlers planted
their roots, and after,
the Underground Railroad forged
a path to freedom, to Brown
versus the Board of Education.
It was our children who led
the country toward civility then.
The afternoon we learned,
it was the choice of children
to bring back the buffalo,
etched on our state quarter,
we remembered what we too often forget:
that the buffalo had always been
the keepers of our tall grasses,
their perseverance our sustenance,
but the children have always known
to vote with their hearts, to say Yes!
to a land that blossoms,
that grounds our imaginations
in the rights that set us free,
they sent the buffalo back
into circulation all across our country.
from Kansas, our heartland—
the children have always known.

Entry: Kansas State Quarter

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: January 2015

Date Modified: January 2018

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.