The US Mint introduces a coin featuring the first Asian Americans on US currency

WASHINGTON (WHTM) – The United States Mint will begin shipping the first US currency coins with an Asian American.

The Philadelphia and Denver mints will produce coins featuring actress Anna May Wong as part of the American Women Quarters program.

Born in Los Angeles to Chinese-American Taishan parents, Wong appeared in more than 60 films from the 1920s to the 1960s. In 1960, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“The fifth coin in our American Women Quarters program honors Anna May Wong, a courageous advocate who pushed for greater representation and more multi-dimensional roles for Asian-American actors,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of achievements of Anna May Wong, who overcame the challenges and obstacles she faced throughout her life.”

The obverse of the coin features George Washington, while the reverse features a close-up of Wong with her head resting on her hand, surrounded by the bright lights of the marquee sign.

The tail of the coin was designed by Emily Damstra, Artistic Infusion Program Designer for the US Mint, and shaped by US Mint medallion artist John McGraw.

“Many prominent actors of the 1920s and 1930s saw their name framed by light bulbs on movie theater marquees, so I thought it made sense to portray Anna May Wong in this way,” said Damstra. “With the hard work, determination and skill that Anna May Wong brought to the acting profession, I think her face and expressive gestures really won over movie audiences, so I included these elements next to her name.”

Other women involved in American Women Quarters Program include Nina Otero-Warren, Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller and Maya Angelou.

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