Thousands of people turned out this morning at the Oklahoma History Center to watch the Oklahoma quarter officially get placed in circulation.
Hundreds of school children, who each received a free Oklahoma quarter, cheered during today's ceremony.
The History Center's parking lot was jammed, and people attending the ceremony had to park as far as 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 Oklahoma's 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 Gaillardia puchella, or 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.
For those unable to attend today's event, the Mint is offering the Oklahoma quarter in two-roll sets (40 coins per roll) containing one roll each from the Mint facilities at Philadelphia and Denver, and in bags of 100 and 1,000 coins. To place an order, customers may go to www.usmint.gov, or call (800) 872-6468. The two-roll sets are $32.95; bags of 100 coins are $32.95; and bags of 1,000 coins are $309.95.
It's expected between 500 million and 550 million Oklahoma quarters will be produced.
Most banks in Oklahoma should have the state quarter today. It may take a couple weeks for someone to get an Oklahoma quarter in their change.