The United States Mint will begin shipping the second coin in the 2023 American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program. The Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver manufacture these circulating quarters honoring Edith Kanakaʻole.
Edith Kanakaʻole preserved Native Hawaiian knowledge, culture, traditions, and history through Hula and chanting. Her efforts and work preserved the history, cultural heritage, and way of life of an entire people. Her commitment to preserving Native Hawaiian traditional knowledge, teaching environmental conservation to future generations, serving the Hawaiian community at large, and applying a new lens to academic science, makes her a clear role model for all Americans.
“The second coin of the 2023 American Women Quarters Program honors the life and legacy of Edith Kanakaʻole,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “She was a renowned practitioner of, and an authority on, modern Hawaiian culture and language. Edith Kanakaʻole believed that the oli, or Hawaiian chants, formed the basis of Hawaiian values and history. She learned this art form and performed all the major styles of delivery.”
The reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Renata Gordon.
“It was a joy to become aware of Edith Kanakaʻole’s legacy as I developed a design for her quarter,” said Damstra. “I wanted to create a design that emphasized Kanakaʻole’s relationship with the environment. I came to understand that her deep connection to the land—her home in Hawai’i near the Mauna Kea volcano—played a large role in her life and work.”
The reverse depicts a portrait of Edith Kanakaʻole, with her hair and lei poʻo (headband) morphing into the elements of a Hawaiian landscape, symbolizing Kanakaʻole’s life’s work of preserving the natural land and traditional Hawaiian culture. The inscription “E hō mai ka ʻike” translates as “granting the wisdom,” and is a reference to the intertwined role hula and chants play in this preservation. Additional inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “25¢,” and “EDITH KANAKAʻOLE.”
The obverse depicts a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday. Though her work was a recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design.
Of Fraser, Director Gibson said, “I am proud that the new obverse design of George Washington is by one of the most prolific women sculptors of the early 20th century. Laura Gardin Fraser’s work is lauded in both numismatic and artistic circles. Ninety years after she intended for it to do so, her obverse design has fittingly taken its place on the quarter.”
Obverse inscriptions are “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “2023.” The design is common to all quarters issued in the series.
Each 2023 AWQ honoree is a powerful, inspiring example of the breadth, depth, and range of accomplishments, and the experiences demonstrated by these extraordinary women speak to the contributions women have always made in the history of our country. Coins featuring additional honorees will continue to ship from 2023 through 2025.
* * *
About the United States Mint
The U.S. Mint was created by Congress in 1792 and became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce.
The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including Proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. The Mint’s numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.