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V.I. to Get Its Own Two Bits in 2009

V.I. to Get Its Own Two Bits in 2009
Dec. 21, 2007 — After years of lobbying by Delegate Donna M. Christensen and other territorial representatives, the U.S. Congress this week passed a bill adding the U.S. Virgin Islands, other territories and Washington, D.C., to the commemorative quarters program.
The quarters, used as standard U.S. currency, have an image that reflects the state on the back of the quarter.
The bill, included in the omnibus spending package passed by both houses, needs approval by President Bush. Christensen said in a press release Thursday that the president is expected to sign the bill.
"I am excited that we are finally about to get our quarter, which will mean recognition for the Virgin Islands and a chance to showcase a part of our cultural history," Christensen said.
While the bill may have passed, Christensen said that it's up to the territory to decide what goes on the quarter.
"Our community now has to begin the process of deciding what imagery will be placed on the Virgin Islands quarter. I will be meeting with the governor on this and other issues. The Virgin Islands will decide through a process yet to be determined," she said. "We have asked for recommendations in the past, but we will be coming to the public to make the final determination."
Christensen said that too many Americans don’t know that the territories are part of the United States and that their histories are part of the intricate pattern of the "American tapestry."
According to the U.S. Mint website, the quarter program began in 1999 and was initially expected to run though 2008. Five designs appeared each year.
The coins were issued by order of their admittance as states. Those scheduled for 2008 are Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Delaware, the first state to enter the union, had its coin released Jan. 4, 1999. Utah was the latest. It was released Nov. 5.
Mint spokesman Michael White said that the V.I. quarter will be included in those issued in 2009. He said the order of release will be Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas.
He said they'll be released about nine weeks apart starting in 2009.
It costs the mint about a nickel to manufacture the quarters, leaving the government with a 20-cent profit.

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