|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Tuesday, March 27, 2001||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, joined by Ranking Member Paul Sarbanes, today accepted the presentation of 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.
The plaster casts were presented by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill at a ceremony that was attended by Mint Director Jay Johnson and U.S. Rep. Michael Castle, the original sponsor of the legislation that enabled the depiction of symbols of each of the 50 states on the reverse of the nation's circulating quarter dollars.
In addition to Sen. Sarbanes of Maryland, other senators attending states whose coins have been released to date: Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, and Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina.
Gramm made the following statement:
"This is an important day in the history of the Banking Committee. We had an opportunity to get the actual plaster castings from which the dies are made to mint the new state quarters. We thought it would be an excellent opportunity to display them on the walls of the Senate Banking Committee and, in doing so, have a visual presentation that represents the fifty great states that make up the union.
"Unfortunately, Texas' coin will not be done for another three or four years. I look forward to its cast being here.
"As you can see, the idea of putting a representation of each of the states on the back of a quarter was an excellent idea. It embodies great artwork, and it has been a resounding success. It has revitalized coin collecting in America. It is an indication of what we can do if we decided to really improve the quality of American coinage, which I hope to do.
"Let me say on behalf of the Banking Committee and Senator Sarbanes and myself that I am happy to accept this permanent loan from the Mint. We appreciate the opportunity to have this artwork here. Secretary O'Neill, we want to thank you for entrusting us with these plasters. We're very happy to have them here, and we look forward over the years to accumulating all fifty of them."