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Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

Flip of a coin

July 29, 2001

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The Kansas design for the back of a U.S. quarter shouldn't be decided with a coin toss, but it's also not rocket science.

It's been interesting to see the new quarters that gradually are being put into circulation by the U.S. Mint. One at a time, each state is being commemorated on the back of the coin, and it is fun to see what part of their heritage each state chooses to highlight.

Now, it's time for Kansas to start thinking about its quarter design, which is due to be released in 2005. Predictably, there is disagreement about how the design should be chosen.

Members of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Arts and Cultural Resources thought designs should be solicited from Kansas artists. A screening committee would reduce the submissions to four finalists that would be presented to Kansas high school students who would vote on the final design.

As House Minority Leader Jim Garner said, "It's a great way to get kids involved in government," but some numismatic experts are skeptical. They think the selection should be made by experts in coins and art and the choice should be forwarded to the governor.

We knew this couldn't be easy. This may be a bigger decision than picking a high school prom theme, but it's not exactly rocket science. The screening committee wouldn't forward any designs that were inappropriate. Why not let the teen-agers make the choice?

Our only advice is to keep it simple. A nice sunflower would do, maybe a covered wagon or some stalks of wheat. Don't try to recreate the complicated Kansas state seal. The flag "experts" already have panned that design; let's not give the coin aficionados a handy target.

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