Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the American Samoa Quarter has been scheduled for release on July 27, 2009. American Samoa would follow Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam in the release schedule for the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program. The one-year initiative was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 that Congress passed and became law on December 26, 2007 (P.L. 110-161).
Initially, the U.S. Territories were left out when Congress passed the Commemorative Coin Program Act in 1997, which authorized a ten year program to honor the states by minting twenty-five cent coins to commemorate each of the 50 states through state-specific designs on one side of the coins. According to the enacting language, five states would be honored each year. Since 1997, representatives from D.C. and the U.S. Territories have been proposing legislation that would amend the popular 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act to include 6 new designs emblematic of the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
In 2007, Congress finally granted authorization to honor D.C. and the U.S. Territories by minting twenty-five cent coins to commemorate each of them through specific designs on one side of the coins. In designing the coins, authorization was granted also to include participation from the District or territorial officials, artists from the District of Columbia or the territory, engravers of the United States Mint, and members of the general public.
The final design selected by the U.S. Mint for the American Samoa quarter features the tanoa, fue, and the to’oto’o against a background image of the coastline. The inscriptions on the coin read “American Samoa”, “Samoa Muamua Le Atua”, “E Pluribus Unum” and the date. The reverse design was by Stephen Clark and sculpted by Charles Vickers.
“This program recognizes the importance of the District of Columbia and the U.S. Territories and I want to acknowledge the support of some of my colleagues in Congress. Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware has been unwavering in his support over the years on this important issue. In addition, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton provided leadership and support over the years in introducing legislation in the House of Representatives to include Washington, D.C. and the Territories. Finally, I want to extend my gratitude to my colleagues from Guam, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, for their efforts and hard work on this particular issue,” Faleomavaega said.
“On behalf of American Samoa, I believe it is only fitting for Congress to acknowledge our relationship with the United States with the issuance of a commemorative coin. American Samoa has a long and proud history of supporting the United States. The Tutuila harbor was used as a coaling station for U.S. naval ships in the early part of the century and as a support base for the United States during WWII,” Faleomavaega explained.
“American Samoa also has a per capita enlistment rate in the U.S. military that is as high as any State or U.S. Territory. Our sons and daughters have served in record numbers in every U.S. military engagement from WWII to present operations in our war against terrorists. Indeed, the latest numbers on the Iraq War show American Samoa has the highest death rate of 138.8 deaths for every 1 million people, compared to any other U.S. State or Territory. We have stood by the United States in good times and bad and I am pleased this relationship is acknowledged with the issuance of a commemorative coin,” Faleomavaega added.
“While plans for an event to mark the release of this historic quarter are still ongoing, I share with you all a sense of pride and honor in this memorable chapter in the history of our Territory of American Samoa,” Faleomavaega concluded.