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What Is the History of the Oregon State Quarter?

By Angela Colley
Updated May 17, 2024
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The U.S. Mint issued the Oregon state quarter as the 33rd specially designed quarter in the 50 state quarter series on June 6, 2005. Designed as both a commemorative piece and a source of currency, the Oregon state quarter features a popular landscape for the state, which was selected by the governor of Oregon over several other designs. It also shows the year in which Oregon became a state, giving the currency an added level of historical significance.

Designs meant to represent the unique attributes of the 50 U.S. states were commissioned for a series of quarters. Donna Waver crafted the winning design for the Oregon state quarter, which features the southwest edge of Crater Lake, which is the deepest lake in the country, reaching over 1,900 feet (594 meters) in depth at the lake's deepest point, and widely known for its crystal clear waters. Three spots on the lake that are important to Oregon residents, Watchmen and Hillman Peaks and Wizard Island, are also incorporated into the design.

Several designs, which featured other unique attributes of Oregon, such as the Oregon Trail and Mount Hood were also considered for the quarter. The Oregon Commemorative Coin Commission, however, recommended Waver's design to the governor of Oregon, who approved it. The final version of the Oregon state quarter design includes Crater Lake, the year of issue — 2005, and the year Oregon was admitted to the Union — 1859. Norman Nemeth engraved the final design.

The U.S. Mint issued the Oregon state quarter as the 33rd quarter in the series. This was not a coincidence, as the U.S. Mint had decided to release the quarters in the order in which the states entered the Union. Oregon was the 33rd state to enter in to the United States on February 14, 1859.

Once engraved, the Philadelphia Mint and the Denver Mint produced thousands of the design. Silver proof and clad proof versions of the quarter were also produced in California at the San Francisco Mint. It was released on June 6, 2005. As part of a commemorative quarters series, the Oregon state quarter has become a collector's item. Both serious and casual coin enthusiasts have sought out the quarter to complete state quarter series collections.

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