The second commemorative quarter-dollar coin released in 2008 honors New Mexico, and is the 47th coin in the United States Mintís 50 State Quartersģ Program. New Mexico, nicknamed the "Land of Enchantment," was admitted into the Union on January 6, 1912, becoming our Nationís 47th state. The reverse of New Mexicoís quarter features a Zia sun symbol over a topographical outline of the State with the inscription "Land of Enchantment." The coin also bears the inscriptions "New Mexico" and "1912."
The great influence of Native American cultures can be found throughout New Mexico. The Zia Pueblo believe the sun symbol represents the giver of all good, who gave gifts in groups of four. From the circle representing life and love without beginning or end, the four groups of four rays that emanate represent the four directions, the four seasons, the four phases of a day (sunrise, noon, evening, and night), and the four divisions of life (childhood, youth, middle years, and old age).
The New Mexico Coin Commission, appointed by Governor Bill Richardson, solicited and reviewed approximately 1,000 concept submissions from state citizens. The Commission then constructed four narrative concepts that represented the most popular elements submitted by the public and forwarded them to the United States Mint for consideration. The final artistic renderings developed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engravers and artists participating in the United States Mintís Artistic Infusion Program were then proposed to New Mexico for a final selection process. On April 24, 2007, Governor Richardson announced his recommendation of the "Zia Symbol over Topographical State Outline" design.
The Department of the Treasury approved the design on May 25, 2007. The other three designs considered were "Zia Symbol over Textured State Outline," "Textured Zia Symbol over State Outline," and "Zia Symbol over Textured State Outline," with the Zia symbol marking the location of the capital, Santa Fe.