The United States Mint shipped a new set of quarters Monday featuring Chinese American actress Anna May Wong. This will be the first time the U.S. currency has featured an Asian American.
The new mint took place as part of American Women Quarters, a program that celebrates up to five women pioneers each year between 2022 to 2025 by minting their portraits on the reverse of quarter coins.
Wong’s quarter is especially significant due to the current social climate that witnessed an increase in Asian American hate crimes in light of the coronavirus. Wong, who earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, struggled to land roles in the early 20th century, according to NPR.
Some of the films Wong was known for were “The Toll of the Sea” (1922), “Piccadilly” (1929), and “Daughter of Shanghai” (1937), according to IMDb.
Wong’s quarter is not the first one to make history this year. In the 2022 lineup of American Women Quarters, Maya Angelou’s quarter was the first-ever U.S. coin featuring a Black woman. Angelou, an author, poet, and civil rights activist, was honored with her freedom-depicting, arms-raised silhouette minted on the 25-cent coin.
The obverse of each American Women Quarters coin features a portrait of George Washington, designed by Laura Gardin Fraser. The portrait was originally intended to feature in a 1932 quarter to mark Washington’s 200th birthday.
On August 29, the U.S. Mint announced the designs for the second year of the American Women Quarters program. The 2023 list recognizes the achievements of personalities like Bessie Coleman, Jovita Idar, Edith Kanaka?ole, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maria Tallchief.
According to the U.S. Mint, the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 allows them to produce new designs for select circulating coinage from 2022 through 2030. In addition to American Women Quarters, the Mint has introduced the Semiquincentennial Program for 2026 and the American Youth Sports Program for 2027 to 2030.
The Semiquincentennial Program will mint coinage celebrating the 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding. And the American Youth Sports Program will issue reverse designs of youth sports each year the program is active and release an annual coin to commemorate sports tailored to athletes with a range of disabilities, including physical, vision, and intellectual impairment, according to the U.S. Mint.
This article was originally published on CNSMaryland.org and is republished with permission.