Sometime in January, the US Mint realized that the word “quarters” can refer both to a unit of currency as well as some sort of defined area of space. It is literally impossible to overstate the significance of this determination. To wit: Meet the “United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program,” which begins issuing new quarters next year and will do so, at the breakneck speed of five per year, until 2021. The quarters are beautiful because instead of state flowers and state historical war whatever, they have images of national parks and shit, which are also quarters that are also beautiful. It is a priceless infinite regression that can be yours, starting in 2010, for 25 cents.
The first Quarters Quarters are going to be your standard, mass-appeal fare: Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, etc., etc. Best not to alienate anyone right away by going too avant-garde or conceptual quite yet. But as the program matures and comes into its own—and as it is forced to recognize states like “The US Virgin Islands” and “New Jersey”—the coins will feature images of America’s lesser natural attractions such as”Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve” and “Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty).”