2003 State Quarters
In 2003, the United States Mint's 50 State Quarters program reached its fifth year, continuing the tradition of releasing five new state-themed coin designs that celebrated the unique history and culture of each state. These quarters were issued in the order the states joined the Union. The first quarter of 2003 honored Illinois, featuring a young Abraham Lincoln, Chicago's skyline, and a farm scene, representing the state's diverse heritage and its vital contributions to American history. The second quarter paid tribute to Alabama, showcasing Helen Keller, a beloved native, along with an inscription in Braille that reads "Spirit of Courage," highlighting the state's commitment to progress and equality. The third quarter celebrated Maine, depicting the picturesque Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and a majestic schooner at sea, symbolizing the state's rich maritime history and breathtaking coastal beauty. The fourth quarter, commemorating Missouri, featured the iconic Gateway Arch and the Lewis and Clark expedition, paying homage to the state's role as a gateway to the West and its significance in American exploration. Finally, the fifth quarter issued in 2003 honored Arkansas, showcasing a diamond, a mallard duck in flight, and a rice stalk, representing the state's natural resources, wildlife, and agricultural heritage. As with earlier releases, these state quarters were minted in limited quantities, captivating collectors and the general public while fostering a deeper appreciation for the nation's diverse history and culture.