|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, March 22, 2001||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, has announced that at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill will formally present the U.S. Senate with 12 plaster casts used in the production of the first state quarters from the 50 State Quarters Program. The framed plasters will be a permanent addition to the Senate Banking Committee hearing room, and plasters of each state coin will, as they are released by the Mint, be added to the walls.
"Having plaster casts of the 50 state quarters adorning our walls is an important symbol of the Senate as the living embodiment of our union of States," Gramm said. "Not only do they honor our unique history, but also the diversity and geography of this great nation."
This is the first time in history that plaster casts used to produce the nation's circulating coinage will be part of a public display outside of the U.S. Mint.
The plaster casts represent the final designs chosen to symbolize each of the 50 states on the reverse of the nation's circulating quarter dollars. Each design is minted and introduced into circulation over a 10 - week period, enabling all 50 to circulate by the year 2009.
Currently released coins feature the designs for Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York and North Carolina.
Treasury Secretary O'Neill to Present U.S. Senate with Plaster Casts Used in 50 State Quarters Program
4 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, 2001
Room 538, Dirksen Senate Building
Information provided by the U.S. Mint
Making a coin begins with the work of the artists and die makers at the U.S. Mint. Each time a new coin or medal is authorized, the sculptor-engravers sketch ideas for the design. After one design has been approved, the artist sculpts a clay model. This model is usually three to twelve times bigger than the size of the finished coin or medal.
Plaster is poured over the clay model, forming a negative plaster model. Then the lettering is cut into the plaster in reverse. Several plaster models are refined to make the best possible model. After final approval, a negative rubber mold is made and epoxy is poured into it to create an extremely durable model.
The epoxy model is mounted on a machine called a transfer-engraver. At one end, a stylus traces the large epoxy model. In between, a ratio bar is set to transfer the design to a smaller size. At the other end of the machine, a carbide tool cuts the reduced design into a steel blank, making a positive replica called a master hub. Imperfections are then removed by the artists.
The master hub is then pressed into a blank die, leaving a negative impression creating the master die. The master die is used to make working hubs and, in turn, working dies. Working dies are then used in the coin presses to stamp the designs.
For more information about coin production please visit the U.S. Mint's web site at www.usmint.gov.