A couple of days ago I received a brand new 2022 quarter in change at the supermarket. I was surprised to see that for the first time in ninety years the obverse of the coin has been completely redesigned. It still features a bust of George Washington, but he has been turned around and has lost his wig, as far as I can tell. Now he just sports a man-pigtail.
It’s still a copper-nickel sandwich, though — a “Johnson slug”. No more silver quarters for us.
The old reverse with the eagle has been gone since the late 1990s, when the mint put out a series of state quarters. After that they varied the design, running through the states again, but this time with a featured tourist attraction for each. It became clear that the mint was simply aiming for the “collectibles” market, striking quarters that collectors would immediately pull out of circulation and insert in their coin folders.
From what I read at the mint’s website, Maya Angelou is the first of five chicks to be featured on the back on the new quarter. Not all of them will be women of color — I believe the astronaut Sally Ride is next in line.
Our coinage has been seriously degraded over the past twenty years. And I don’t mean just because of the lack of silver and the paucity of copper, but also because of the designs. The new penny looks like a fairground token, and the new version of Thomas Jefferson on the nickel is an ugly instance of hip kitsch. I assume the dime will also be revamped in a similar fashion.
And, based on these new quarters, political correctness is now firmly ensconced in the Department of the Treasury. It’s bound to get worse — I mean, how much longer until the dead white men, especially the slave-owners, are permanently expunged?
During the reign of Obama there was a push to get rid of Andrew Jackson and install Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. That got interrupted by the usurper Trump, but with Brandon at the top, it will probably get right back on track.
I fully expect to see George Floyd’s head on a coin or a bill sometime fairly soon. Maybe he can be featured on the $100,000 bill when that becomes the smallest denomination of our new paper currency…