From the publisher
After six years of collecting commemorative quarters from other states we finally can put in our two bits by voting on the design for the South Dakota quarter.
Three of the five proposed designs feature the granite faces carved on Mount Rushmore. Gutzon Borglumís sculptured heads of four American presidents are our claim to fame, despite the occasional efforts of misguided writers who try to move them across the border into North Dakota.
Our flag proclaims this is "The Mount Rushmore State" and our state slogan is "Great Faces. Great Places." So itís a no-brainer to conclude the famous national memorial belongs on our commemorative coin.
Three of the designs created by U. S. Mint artists feature single images of Mount Rushmore, the Chinese ring-neck pheasant or the American bison. The famous faces are combined with either the buffalo or the pheasant on the other two. All five coin designs are framed by two stalks of wheat.
Personally, I donít think a bison or pheasant are exclusively identified with South Dakota.
The bison looks much like the one on the rare Buffalo Nickel that was minted from 1913 to 1938, although the image is reversed, and a buffalo is on the Kansas commemorative quarter.
The pheasant was adopted as the state bird in 1943, but is not native to South Dakota. It was imported from Asia and introduced in South Dakota in 1898.
I was a little surprised that Crazy Horse Memorial, the other massive mountain carving in the Black Hills, isnít represented on any of the designs. And I really wish our state motto (Under God the people rule) could be on our commemorative coin, but guess that wouldnít be considered politically correct in todayís world.
Until April 15, South Dakotans of any age can vote for their favorite design at a bank, credit union, or on the Internet at www.sdquarter.com. The winner will be announced on April 20.
If you donít vote, donít whine when South Dakotaís commemorative quarter is released in November 2006. And if you canít decide Ė just flip a coin.
While Iím bragging about my native state, I should tell you about an impressive coffee table book that showcases South Dakota through the eyes of more than two dozen amateur and professional photographers.
Celebrating the diverse lifestyles of people who populate the Land of Infinite Variety, digital photographs capture South Dakotans at work and at play Ė on farms and ranches, in small towns and cities.
The dramatic cover photo of Lakota leader Crazy Horse, the colossal carving now emerging from Thunderhead Mountain at Crazy Horse Memorial near Custer, is by Rapid City photographer Mike Wolforth. Terry Woster, capital bureau chief for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and authors Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen wrote introductory essays.
South Dakota 24/7 is one of 50 state books released simultaneously last fall by DK Publishing. Any or all of them can be ordered online at www.america24-7.com.
The $24.95 price is a bargain in anyoneís book.
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