HomeUS Coins2022-S Wilma Mankiller American Women Quarter : A Collector's Guide

2022-S Wilma Mankiller American Women Quarter : A Collector’s Guide

2022-S Wilma Mankiller quarter. Image: CoinWeek / United States Mint.
2022-S Wilma Mankiller quarter. Image: CoinWeek / United States Mint.

In 2022, the United States Mint launched a new series of circulating commemorative quarter dollar coins. The quarter dollar, which has not had a consistent reverse design year-to-year since 1998, will be the canvas used to celebrate many accomplished women that have made a mark throughout American history in a program spanning from 2022 through 2025.

The United States Congress authorized the American Women Quarters Program by passing of Public Law 116-330. The exact language of the law calls for the production of quarter designs that are “emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of one prominent woman of the United States, and may include contributions to the United States in a wide spectrum of accomplishments and field, including but not limited to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and arts, and should honor women from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.”

From a numismatic standpoint, the program has proven to be a spectacular success. The honorees reflect a wide range of accomplishments, from movie stars, to scientists, to civil rights leaders, to women who were historic firsts in important fields. A number of the designs have been experimental and visionary.

The 2022 quarter releases honored five distinguished women: Maya Angelou, Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren, and Anna May Wong.

American Women Quarters Program Also Honors Famous Sculptress

Beyond the five annual honorees, the American Women Quarters Program also honors American sculptress Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966).

Fraser was a prolific artist whose prior coin design credits include:

1999 Washington Commemorative Five Dollar Gold Coin design. Image: U.S. Mint.
1999 Washington commemorative five dollar gold coin design. Image: U.S. Mint.

To mark the bicentennial of President George Washington’s birth, Congress held a competition to design a commemorative coin in his honor. Laura Gardin Fraser, John Flanagan, and Thomas Cremona were among those who submitted designs. Fraser’s design was favored over all others by the Commission of Fine Arts, but Treasury Secretary Andrew Melon, preferred John Flanagan’s design, and used his prerogative to overrule the judges.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), which pushed for adopting of the Fraser reverse, saw its use as the “heads” side of the American Women Quarters Program as the correction of a historic injustice. The American Women Quarters obverse is actually the second use of this design. Its first use was on the 1999 Washington Commemorative five dollar gold coin design, which was issued to mark the 200th Anniversary of the first president’s death.

Wilma Mankiller’s Historic Legacy

Wilma Mankiller was born to Cherokee parents on November 18, 1945, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. A severe drought brought her family to California in 1956, where her parents struggled financially, moving from town to town hoping to find more stable opportunities.

After graduating high school in June 1963, Mankiller married Hector Hugo Olaya, a wealthy Ecuadorian college student, and started a family. As a young mother, she took an interest in activism and became involved in the anti-war movement and promoting the civil rights of women and ethnic minorities.

After divorcing Olaya in 1974, Mankiller remained in California, working on Indian issues for two years before returning to Oklahoma in 1976. There, she continued her education, found work in the tribal offices and suffered a series of health setbacks. Through this adversity, Mankiller found direction in embracing what she called in a 1993 NPR interview, “a Cherokee approach to life.”

Mankiller became more involved in tribal community development projects, raising millions of dollars of grants to improve the lives of her community. In 1983, she campaigned for and was elected Deputy Chief, defeating Perry Wheeler, a funeral director. In that position, she faced stiff opposition from the male members of the tribal council, who were dismissive of Mankiller because of her sex. Despite this, Mankiller pushed for improvements on several pressing issues and the tribe re-elected her in 1985.

That year, Chief Ross Swimmer was appointed Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mankiller succeeded Swimmer as the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. She held the position for two-and-a-half terms, and decided to not seek re-election in 1995 due to health issues. Mankiller’s tenure as Principal Chief proved successful, and many initiatives she introduced and/or oversaw significantly benefited the Cherokee Nation.

In her later years, she remained active in social causes. Mankiller was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 1998, President Bill Clinton bestowed upon her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Wilma Mankiller died in 2010 at age 64.

The Wilma Mankiller Quarter

AIP artist Benjamin Sowards' design sketch the Wilma Mankiller quarter reverse.
AIP artist Benjamin Sowards’ design sketch the Wilma Mankiller quarter reverse.

Wilma Mankiller appeared on the third quarter issued in 2022, released on June 6. The reverse of Mankiller’s quarter was designed by AIP artist Benjamin Sowards and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. Mankiller appears at left, facing right, along with the seven-pointed star of the Cherokee Nation and her title in both English and Cherokee. This is the second use of Cherokee language on a U.S. coin, the first being the 2017 Native American dollar honoring Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee syllabary (Cherokee also appears on the 2008 Code Talkers Cherokee Nation Congressional Gold Medal).

“It is my honor to present our Nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson. “Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Wilma Mankiller was a leader in the Cherokee Nation and a strong voice worldwide for social justice, Native people, and women.”

2022-S Wilma Mankiller Quarter graded MS-66 by NGC. Image: eBay seller E COINS Store.
2022-S Wilma Mankiller Quarter graded MS-66 by NGC. Image: eBay seller E COINS Store.

Business strikes were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. Only coins struck at Philadelphia and Denver were produced for commercial release. The San Francisco business strikes were produced for the numismatic market and sold to collectors through the United States Mint’s website at a premium over face value.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Recent 2022-S Wilma Mankiller American Women Quarter sales on eBay indicate that collectors are paying between $3 and $5 for Mint State examples. A February 20, 2024 sale of a coin graded NGC MS-66 (#6572557-027) at $3.25 seems like an outlier, as it falls well below the cost of submission.

Top Population: PCGS MS-68 (5, 4/2023). NGC MS-69 (1, 4/2023). CACG N/A (0:0 stickered:graded, 2/2024).

  • NGC MS-66 #6572557-027: eBay, February 20, 2024 – $3.25.

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Design

Obverse:

The American Women quarters feature an obverse design of George Washington that sculptress Laura Gardin Fraser designed 1931. Washington’s head faces to the right. LIBERTY wraps around the top of the design, with the bottom of the letters BER slightly obstructed by the top of the head. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears in thin tall letters to the left of Washington’s head. The date and mintmark appear on the lower right side of the design, tucked under Washington’s chin. Gardin Fraser’s initials LGF are found in the truncation of Washington’s neck.

Reverse:

Wilma Mankiller, depicted from waist up, faces to the right. Her hair is flowing as the wind is at her back. Mankiller is wrapped in a tribal shawl and she is wearing a long beaded necklace. Northern Oklahoma Cherokee tribal land is seen in the distance. In the foreground is the seven-pointed star of the Cherokee Nation. Superimposed over Mankiller, in three descending lines, are the inscriptions WILMA MANKILLER / PRINCIPAL CHIEF / ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ. ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ transliterates to Tsa-la-gi-hi A-ye-li (“Cherokee Nation”). The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA curves clockwise around the top of the rim, while the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM and the denomination QUARTER DOLLAR curve counterclockwise around the bottom rim. Designer Benjamin Sowards’ initials BS are found on the left side on the bottom of Mankiller’s shawl, and sculptor Phebe Hemphill’s initials PH are found on the right side near the bottom of the coin, among the long, flowing fringe.

Edge:

Like all coins in the American Women Quarters Program, the edge of the 2022 Wilma Mankiller quarter is reeded.

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 2022
Denomination: Quarter Dollar (USD)
Mint Mark: S (San Francisco)
Mintage: TBD
Alloy: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Weight: 5.67 g (clad)
Diameter: 24.30 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer Laura Gardin Fraser
REV Designer Benjamin Sowards | Phebe Hemphill
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Grammar quibble: “ITS first use” rather than “IT’S first use”. “It’s” of course means “it is” and isn’t a possessive despite the apostrophe.

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