Missourians celebrated 182 years of statehood Sunday as the Missouri state quarter was officially unveiled at the state fairgrounds in Sedalia.
Fairgoers packed into the Mathewson Exhibition Center to enjoy the air conditioning and watch the afternoon presentation.
“It was very special to be a part of it,” Janet Gertz said of the ceremony.
Janet and Dan Gertz of Sedalia came to the state fair only to get the new quarter. Dan collects the commemorative coins.
The quarter, which is the 24th state quarter to be released, features a picture of the Gateway Arch with canoers paddling underneath, symbolic of Louis and Clark’s journey. It is inscribed “Corps of Discovery,” with the dates 1804 and 2004 on it. The winning design concept for the quarter was submitted by Paul Jackson of Columbia.
The coin was unveiled during a ceremony featuring actors speaking as Harry S. Truman and Mark Twain, who spoke of Missouri’s heritage, and actors representing the Jesse James Gang and a Pony Express rider.
Gov. Bob Holden and his wife, Lori Hauser Holden, both spoke at the ceremony, as did Robert Archibald, president of the Missouri Historical Society, and U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore.
“Happy birthday, Missouri,” Fore said.
She made the presentation of the first Missouri Quarters, an encased set of quarters to be displayed at the Missouri State Museum, to Gov. Holden and his wife.
The First Lady said that so far Missouri is the only state to celebrate on its actual statehood anniversary.