The third commemorative quarter-dollar coin released in 2008 honors Arizona, and is the 48th coin in the United States Mint’s 50 State Quarters® Program. Arizona was admitted into the Union on February 14, 1912, becoming our Nation’s 48th state, and the last in the continental United States.
The Arizona quarter features an image of the Grand
Canyon with a Saguaro cactus in the foreground. A banner reading "Grand
Canyon State" separates the two images to signify that the Saguaro
cactus does not grow in the Grand Canyon. The coin also bears the
inscriptions "Arizona" and "1912."
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon covers
more than 1.2 million acres in northwestern Arizona. The Canyon,
sculpted by the mighty Colorado River, is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest
point and 18 miles at its widest. It is home to numerous rare and
threatened plant and animal species. The Grand Canyon joined the
National Park system in 1919 and is visited by more than four million
tourists a year.
The Arizona Quarter Commission, appointed by Governor Janet Napolitano, solicited design suggestions from across the State. The Commission narrowed down more than 4,200 ideas to five narratives, which were sent to the United States Mint for consideration. The final artistic renderings, developed by Sculptor-Engravers of the United States Mint and artists in the United States Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program, were then proposed to Arizona, and a statewide online vote was conducted. On May 1, 2007, Governor Napolitano announced her recommendation of the "Grand Canyon with Saguaro Cactus" design, based on the results of the online poll.
The Department of the Treasury approved the design on May 25, 2007. The other design concepts considered during the final selection process were "Grand Canyon," featuring an overview of the Grand Canyon; "Grand Canyon with Saguaro Cacti," featuring the Saguaro cactus as the central design with the Grand Canyon in the background; "Powell’s Grand Canyon Expedition," depicting the John Wesley Powell expedition in a boat going through rapids; and "Navajo Code Talkers," depicting two Navajo Code Talkers using World War II field communication equipment.