ForeWord Reviews

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Quarterama

Ideas & Designs of America’s State Quarters

Foreword Review

The monumentally popular state quarters are the fifty-six unique creations honored in the colorful book, Quarterama: Ideas & Designs of American’s State Quarters.

A tribute to each of the fifty states, in the order they entered the Union, plus the District of Columbia and five US Territories, was minted and distributed five times a year from 1999-2009, and each state’s coin was uniquely designed to represent that region. Children and adults eagerly awaited the distribution of the next coin in the series and marveled at the detail on the back of each quarter. George Washington’s face is on the front of all quarters, as it has been since 1932.

In Quarterama, the compact history of each state unfolds along with lavish illustrations and a greatly enlarged rendition of the state quarter, letting readers see up close the detail on each coin. The bindery of the hardcover edition of this book doubles as a collector coin album.

Author Garrett Burke is also the concept designer of the California state coin. The design, which was selected by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from over 8,000 entries, celebrates nature, including naturalist John Muir, Yosemite Valley, and the California condor. Other quarters representing each of the states feature scenes sculpted by gifted United States Mint artists. One of the most unusual set of pages is for Alabama. The Braille Code, honoring Alabama native Helen Keller, who opened the world’s eyes and ears by her courage, is featured and readers are instructed as to how to decipher the code that lets the blind read.

Humorous and beautiful illustrations make for interesting pages. Each state’s pages teach history in a nutshell, plus offer small tidbits of information: “Four Ohio state quarters [were] carried aboard the space shuttle Columbia in March, 2002.” Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted to the Union and calls itself “The Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers.”

A shorter section is devoted to America’s Treasured National Parks quarters, which went into circulation in 2010. Five new quarters will be released annually until 2021. Hopefully Burke will publish another book similar to Quarterama, which will be a hit with all coin collectors, professional and recreational, young and old, plus history teachers and scholars.

Burke has crafted art and logos for major movie studios and pop culture brands, including Star Wars and Dr. Seuss and has designed commemorative medals. He is an honors graduate of Pratt Institute’s School of Art and Design.

Penny Hastings