Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: State quarters - Delaware

Have you ever heard of a review of the state quarters? I mean, has anyone actually taken a look at all of these fifty designs and judged them, whether objectively or subjectively? I can't recall ever seeing any such review (cursory searches with my favorite search engine produced nothing), but I've long had opinions, good and bad, of many of these numismatic works of art. And I've often wanted to express those opinions.

Well, this is my blog, so here are my expressions.

First of all, I've going to give you a very, very brief description of the 50 State Quarters program (you can read more about it here). From 1999 to 2008, the U.S. government issued commemorative quarters celebrating all 50 of the United States of America. They were issued in the order that the states joined the Union, and each state got to design its own artwork for the reverse of the quarter. Some of these images were cool. Some were impressive. And some were just lame. But I assumed all of them expressed key characteristics and traditions of the states they were to represent. I have no idea whether the lame ones actually represented the lameness of the state they belonged to, but I assume somebody thought those designs were special enough to present to the nation.

On to the reviews.

Delaware is first, because it was the first state to join the Union.

And guess what. The first thing we notice is the slogan, "The First State." That's good. That's quite a thing to be, the first state. No other state can say that, and Delaware is right to be proud of that status. So it's no surprise that "The First State" is featured prominently, and I think that's good.

Then we get -- Caesar Rodney.


I admit, I did not know who Caesar Rodney was when this quarter first came out, but apparently he's quite the prominent citizen of Delaware and a true patriot. From the font of all-knowledge, Wikipedia, we get this description:

Caesar Rodney (October 7, 1728 – June 29, 1784) was an American lawyer and politician from St. Jones Neck, in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, east of Dover. He was an officer of the Delaware militia during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Continental Congressman from Delaware, and President of Delaware during most of the American Revolution.

Well, good enough. Color me enlightened. I'm sure he's someone just about every Delawarian would know, just like every Texan knows who Sam Houston was. (Or, at least, every Texan should!) So, he deserves the spot on the quarter. And the artwork itself isn't bad. He's a patriot on a galloping horse, and, even if you don't know who Rodney was, this should call to mind for anyone familiar with American history the image of Paul Revere, another patriot who is famous for at least one horse ride. Kudos for the Revolutionary imagery.

All around, this is a good quarter design, and a fitting way to kick off the series.

Overall rating - 4 - Better

Pennsylvania's next.

UPDATE: I have decided to give these quarter designs a numeric rating, if only to make overall general comparisons easier. I'm thinking of this:

1 = Bad
2 = Mediocre
3 = Good
4 = Better
5 = Best

I give Delaware a 4. It's "better" because it is the first in the series, and it sets the tone for the rest of the images.

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