The 2001 New York state quarter is a circulating commemorative coin that, by an awful twist of fate, became one of the most widely publicized, most popular issues in the 50 States Quarters series. The New York quarter was released on January 2, 2001 and became the first 50 States Quarters issue for that year. The coin, authorized under the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act of 1997 (PDF), includes a reverse depiction of the Statue of Liberty and a geographical outline of New York State.
In 1999, officials at the United States Mint invited then-Governor George Pataki of New York to compile a list of design themes for the New York quarter. The design candidates included a scene from the Battle of Saratoga, Henry Hudson and his sailing ship Half Moon, the New York Federal Building and the Statue of Liberty.
The coin was officially unveiled on January 8, 2001 during an event held at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York.
The obverse of the 2001 New york quarter is the first to show a modified portrait of George Washington, a design by John Flanagan based on a 1786 plaster bust by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Sculptor-engraver William Cousins designed the newer rendition of Washington, which remains the obverse design for the quarter for the duration of the America the Beautiful Quarter series.
The redesign was necessary in part to accommodate new inscriptions on the obverse that previously were featured on the reverse of the quarter; these obverse inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in a semi-circular arrangement over Washington’s head, IN GOD WE TRUST to his right, LIBERTY to his left, below his chin, and QUARTER DOLLAR along the bottom side of the rim, under the first president’s bust. The words QUARTER DOLLAR and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA were previously located on the reverse of Washington quarters made from 1932 through 1998, but they were relocated to the obverse to allow a wider reverse canvas area for the changing 50 States Quarter designs. The mintmark is seen to the right of Washington’s ponytail.
Daniel Carr designed the reverse of the New York state quarter, and it was engraved by Alfred Maletsky. The theme of the quarter is denoted in the reverse inscription as GATEWAY TO FREEDOM, which is superimposed on the upper right side of a geographical outline of New York State. The most prominent design element is the Statue of Liberty, which is seen standing tall before the outline of the Empire State.
The Statue of Liberty, which welcomed millions of European immigrants entering the United States via Ellis Island during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is a symbolic reference to the coin’s “Gateway to Freedom” theme. The 151-foot-tall statue was made by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi in the 1870s and shipped to the United States in 214 crates. It was then erected atop a 154-foot-tall pedestal.
In addition to the Statue of Liberty, other elements on the reverse of the New York quarter include the year 2001 and the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM below the central design feature. At the top of the coin are the inscriptions NEW YORK and 1788, with the latter a reference to the year when New York was admitted as the 11th state of the Union. Four stars along the left rim and seven stars running along the right rim collectively symbolize New York’s status as the nation’s 11th state. Under the left side of the New York state outline are Maletsky’s initials, AM.
The New York State Quarter & 9/11
When the New York quarter hit circulation in early 2001, it was well received by coin collectors and the general public. However, it was not necessarily a particularly special coin beyond the fact that it was the 11th issue of the 50 States Quarters series.
This all changed on September 11, 2001, when the New York quarter took on larger symbolic significance after the 9/11 attacks. By a stroke of unfortunate coincidence, the New York quarter was produced in 2001, and many people thus regarded the coin as an accidental, yet poignant numismatic memorial to the death and destruction that befell Lower Manhattan on September 11. That is when nearly 3,000 people were killed during the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center. Within weeks following the tragic event, private mints and other players in the secondary market seized on the swelling patriotic fervor by selling colorized New York quarters and other novelty products themed around the coin.
The hype surrounding the New York quarter has largely subsided since the early 2000s. However, there are still secondary market profiteers hawking patriotically themed, colorized and gold-plated New York quarters. While such products may have some marginal artistic quality and are enjoyed by many people, altered versions of the 2001 New York 50 States quarter should not be purchased as financial investments.
Designer(s): American sculptor John Flanagan’s work in the medallic and metal arts ranks him as one of the best artists of his generation. For generations of coin collectors, he is best known for his Washington quarter design (View Designer’s Profile). William Cousins is a sculptor-engraver at the United States Mint. Designer Daniel Carr has developed software to render his work digitally. Sculptor Alfred Maletsky has served as an engraver at the Mint since 1993.
|Year Of Issue:||2001|
|Mint Mark:||P, D, S|
|Alloy:||Clad: 75% copper, 25% nickel outer layer with pure copper core; Silver: 90% silver, 10% copper|
|Weight:||5.67 grams (clad); 6.25 grams (silver)|
|OBV Designer||John Flanagan / William Cousins|
|REV Designer||Daniel Carr / Alfred Maletsky|
|Quality:||Business Strike, Uncirculated, Proof|
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