US Mint unveils quar­ter with Span­ish inscrip­tion

The Asso­ci­at­ed Press

Fri­day, April 3rd 2009, 1:26 PM

commonwealth-of-puerto-rico-quarterSAN JUAN, Puer­to Rico — The direc­tor of the U.S. Mint on Thurs­day unveiled the first U.S. coin with an inscrip­tion in Span­ish, a quar­ter hon­or­ing Puer­to Rico as the “Isla del Encan­to” — or “Island of Enchant­ment.”

The coin pre­sent­ed at a cer­e­mo­ny in the Caribbean territory’s cap­i­tal is the lat­est in a series that already has rec­og­nized all 50 states and, like the oth­ers, it depicts the tra­di­tion­al pro­file of George Wash­ing­ton on one side.

But the reverse side shows a sen­try box on a Span­ish colo­nial fort and a hibis­cus, the U.S. island’s offi­cial flower, along with the phrase: “Isla del Encan­to.”

At the pre­sen­ta­tion in San Juan’s colo­nial dis­trict, U.S. Mint Direc­tor Ed Moy said the U.S. coin is the first to cir­cu­late with a phrase inscribed in Span­ish.

He said the quar­ter will be an ambas­sador for the “mar­vels” of Puer­to Rico.

sq.color.2009.prGov. Luis For­tuño, whose par­ty favors mak­ing this Caribbean island the 51st U.S. state, dis­missed any sug­ges­tion that the inscrip­tion high­lights Puer­to Rico’s cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences with the main­land.

“The real­i­ty is the Unit­ed States is one of the biggest Span­ish-speak­ing coun­tries in the world, with 45 mil­lion cit­i­zens of His­pan­ic descent,” For­tuño said, adding that the use of Span­ish rep­re­sents “the inte­gra­tion of a great nation” that has room for many lan­guages.

The Puer­to Rico quar­ter entered cir­cu­la­tion on Mon­day.

A quar­ter for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia debuted ear­li­er this year, and the Mint is also rolling out oth­ers this year for Guam, Amer­i­can Samoa, the U.S. Vir­gin Islands and the North­ern Mar­i­ana Islands.