Thousands of people turned out Monday at the Oklahoma History Center to watch the Oklahoma quarter officially placed in circulation. Hundreds of school children, who each received a free Oklahoma quarter, cheered during the ceremony. The Oklahoma History Center's parking lot was jammed, and some people attending the ceremony had to park three blocks away. "2007 was an exciting year for the Sooner State, celebrating its centennial,” said Dan Shaver, the acting deputy director of the U.S. Mint. "Today's issuance of this beautiful Oklahoma quarter serves as an encore to the state's centennial, and the coin itself will serve as a lasting, nationwide tribute to Oklahoma, its heritage and its people.” Shaver, with the help of Gov. Brad Henry and first lady Kim Henry, put a symbol of the state's quarter on a U.S. map that featured the state quarters issued since the state quarter program was launched in 1999. Oklahoma is the 46th state to have a state quarter issued. Henry said it's appropriate the Oklahoma quarter is the first to be placed in circulation in 2008, on the heels of the 2007 yearlong celebration marking the Oklahoma Centennial. "The future (of Oklahoma) is even brighter,” Henry said. The governor said the scissor-tailed flycatcher "represents the scenic beauty of our great state.” The design depicts the scissor-tailed flycatcher in flight with its distinctive tail feathers spread. The bird soars above the state wildflower, the Indian blanket. Inscriptions, also on the reverse of the coin, are "Oklahoma” and "1907,” the year Oklahoma was admitted into the Union. Hundreds later stood in line to buy $10 rolls of the quarters or a special commemorative set.
Gov. Brad Henry holds a proof set of the new Oklahoma quarter Monday at the unveiling ceremony at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. By David McDaniel, The Oklahoman