Thursday, February 26, 2009

Washington D. C. Quarter Honors Duke Ellington

The U. S. Mint's series honoring all fifty states on the reverse side of its quarters is nearing its end but not before Washington D.C. was finally represented.

Today, the third installment of The Musical Art Gallery, Bloggerhythms' occasional series discussing music related artwork, features the new Duke Ellington quarter that hit America's streets near the end of January. Collectors may want to hold on to a few of these babies, instead of slipping them into parking meters, because the Ellington coin is one of the best of the series.

This quarter is a pleasant surprise because most of the previously issued coins have celebrated something famously identified with each of the fifty states. You may have expected our nation's capital to feature The White House, The Capitol, The Smithsonian, or even one of the memorials on the reverse side. However, to their credit, the town decided to do something very different. City resident, Eleanor Holmes Norton, said, "With Duke on the coin, we are sending an important message to the world that D.C. is a lot more than a government town." Ellington is a great choice because the man many consider to be the most talented jazz musician and composer of all time was born in this historic city.

We'll close with a bit of trivia. Ellington is not the first black person to appear on a circulated United States coin. The first was a slave who appeared with Lewis and Clark on a Missouri quarter in 2003.

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