Update on the US Mint AWQ Program

The US Mint is currently shipping the next two coins in its American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program. The third circulating coin features Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation who sought to improve education, healthcare and government for the Nation. The fourth circulating coin features Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools.

As with all other quarters in this series, the obverse side of both depict a portrait of George Washington, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark Washington’s 200th birthday.

The reverse of the Wilma Mankiller coin depicts her wrapped in a traditional shawl, ‘with a resolute gaze to the future’. The seven-pointed star of the Cherokee Nation features on her left-hand side, with the name of the Cherokee Nation written in the Cherokee syllabary underneath.

The reverse of the Nina Otero-Warren coin depicts her on the left with three individual Yucca flower – the state flower of New Mexico – next to her elbow. Above the flowers, and on her left-hand side, the phrase ‘VOTO PARA LA MUJER’ (‘Votes for Women’) is inscribed, with her name below.

The first two coins in the series feature Maya Angelou and Dr Sally Ride respectively, with minting at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints complete for the first three AWQ coins issued in 2022. The US Mint has released production figures for the three coins, totalling 1.65 billion coins (which include circulation-finish coins struck for numismatic sales).

For the individual coins, the Angelou mintages for commerce distribution were 495.8 million, with circulation distribution mintages at 553.2 million and 606.8 million – the highest in the series to date – for the Ride and Mankiller coins respectively.

The last coin in the series is set to be released later this year and features the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood, Anna May Wong.

2023 AWQ series announced

© United States Mint image.

As part of the four-year AWQ Program, five new reverse designs will be issued by the US Mint each year between 2022 and 2025. The mint announced the 2023 designs in August, which will recognise the achievements of five more trailblazing American women.

They are:

  • Bessie Coleman – the first African American and first Native American woman pilot

  • Edith Kanakaʻole – an indigenous Hawaiian composer, custodian of native culture and traditions

  • Eleanor Roosevelt – first lady, author, and civil liberties advocate

  • Jovita Idar – a Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist

  • Maria Tallchief – America’s first prima ballerina.

The mint has yet to announce the release dates for next year’s series but it will likely follow a similar schedule to those released this year.