The fifth and final commemorative
quarter-dollar coin released in 2006 honors South Dakota, the "Mount
Rushmore State," and is the 40th coin in the United States Mint's 50
State Quarters® Program. Admitted into the Union on November 2, 1889,
South Dakota became the Nation's 40th state. The release of this quarter
signals the end of the eighth year of the 50 State Quarters Program.
The South Dakota quarter features an image of the State bird, a Chinese
ring-necked pheasant, in flight above a depiction of the Mount Rushmore
National Monument, featuring the faces of four American Presidents:
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham
Lincoln. The design is bordered by heads of wheat. The coin's design
also bears the inscriptions "South Dakota" and "1889."
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum began drilling into Mount Rushmore, the
5,725-foot peak rising above Harney National Forest, in 1927. Creation
of the "Shrine of Democracy" took 14 years and cost approximately $1
million, though it is now deemed priceless.
The South Dakota Quarter Advisory Committee began accepting ideas from
the citizens of South Dakota via telephone, letters and e-mail. A group
of five possible narratives was agreed upon and forwarded to the United
States Mint for consideration. The final artistic renderings, developed
by the sculptor-engravers of the United States Mint and artists in the
United States Mint's Artistic Infusion Program, were returned to South
Dakota, and a statewide vote was conducted. On April 27, 2005, South
Dakota Governor M. Michael Rounds announced his recommendation of the
"Mount Rushmore and Pheasant" design, echoing the choice of those who
participated in the statewide vote.
The Department of the Treasury approved the design on May 28, 2005. The
other design concepts considered during the final selection process were
"Mount Rushmore National Monument," featuring a three-quarter view of
the famous mountain carving; "American Bison," depicting the classic
animal symbol of the west; "Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant," featuring an
image of the state bird in flight; and "Mount Rushmore and Bison," which
placed an American bison in the foreground and Mount Rushmore in the