Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Annals of numismatics: The Iowa quarter (via email) 

The daily trip to the SuperFresh(tm) prepared foods counter contained more
than the usual excitement. Yes, TigerHawk got his first Iowa state quarter
in circulation. The reverse includes a one-room schoolhouse rendered after
a Grant Wood painting, I believe - I confess that I am stepping up to this
claim based on the words "Grant Wood" at the bottom of the coin, rather than
any revealed command of American art history - and the legend "Foundation in
Education." This last bit of Iowa propaganda reflects Iowa's assertion that
it has been the "most literate" state in the country for roughly 100 years,
by which it means that it has the highest rate of functionally literate
adults, as opposed to an unusual concentration of literati. I daresay that
even The Tall Glass Of Milk didn't run around saying "you'll find it in
Balzac," Mason City upbringing notwithstanding.

In any event, it is rare that we are able to combine two of the TigerHawk
sub-topics - numismatics and Iowa - so elegantly.

UPDATE (7:15 am Chicago time -- that being where I am -- October 27, via conventional blogging): Here's the lowdown on the Iowa quarter via the U.S. Mint. There's a detailed discussion of all the goofball mottos rejected in favor of "Foundation in Education," leaving me to wonder why they didn't stick with Iowa's official motto, "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain." Rights maintenance being sort of a hot topic these days.

Back in the day, Iowa had a great pop slogan, "A place to grow," which the state eventually abandoned in favor of any number of less textured efforts. I thought that "A place to grow" captured Iowa perfectly at many levels, and it definitely blows doors on "Foundation in Education." But with the Democrats in charge, it isn't surprising that the state is less in favor of growth and talking more about literacy -- that's the way things go.


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