United States

US Mint Releases Frederick Douglass Quarter

About 400 million Frederick Douglass quarters will be in circulation

Legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass is now on a U.S. quarter. 

The United States Mint released the coin on Tuesday. 

The coin, made of nickel and copper, shows the author writing in front of the Southeast Washington, D.C., home where he lived from 1877 to his death in 1895.

The quarter is available to order online, and it's headed into mainstream circulation, a U.S. Mint spokesman said. Eventually, about 400 million Frederick Douglass quarters will be in circulation, the spokesman said.

The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury selected the design as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, which issues quarters that honor national park sites. Douglass' former home, on W Street SE in Anacostia, was designated the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.  

The design was created by engraver Thomas Hipschen and then sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. It generally takes two to three weeks to make a mock-up of a coin using clay and plaster, Hemphill said in a U.S. Mint YouTube video. Then, she scans an image of the mock-up and enhances it in digital form.

Douglass was born into slavery in 1818 but learned to read and write at age 12 despite laws prohibiting such learning. He escaped from slavery as a young man, and then wrote his first of three autobiographies, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass." The book, released in 1845, became a bestseller and influenced the abolition of slavery.

Another icon of American history, Harriet Tubman, is set to appear on U.S. money. Harriet Tubman's image will be printed on $20 bills set to be released in 2020.


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Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, but that isn’t the only change coming to U.S. currency. News4’s Tom Sherwood reports.
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