Alaska State Quarters were released on August 25, 2008 as the forty-ninth coin in the State Quarter series. This was the fourth release for the year 2008 and the penultimate release for the program. Alaska’s original Statehood date was January 3, 1959.
The Alaska Quarter reverse design features a grizzly bear with salmon. The inscriptions include the State name, Statehood date, mintage date, “E Pluribus Unum,” and “The Great Land.” The coin’s reverse was designed by Susan Gamble and engraved by Charles Vickers.
The grizzly bear and salmon symbolize the natural beauty and wildlife which are abundant in the vast state of Alaska. More than 98% of the grizzly bear population of the United States resides in Alaska. The state was purchased from Russia in 1867 for the sum of $7.2 million. Alaska’s abundant gold and oil resources made the purchase an incredible investment.
The governor appointed an eleven member Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission to solicit and review design concepts. From a field of more than 850 submissions, four were chosen to send to the United States Mint for artistic renderings. The governor selected the grizzly bear design, which was later officially approved by the Department of the Treasury. Other Alaska Quarter designs considered, but not selected included a polar bear, Mount McKinley, and a gold panner.
The Philadelphia mint produced 251,800,000 Alaska Quarters and the Denver mint produced 254,000,000. The San Francisco Mint produced proof and silver proof coins for inclusion within government issued proof sets.
Alaska Quarter Mintages
- 2008-P Alaska Quarter: 251,800,000
- 2008-D Alaska Quarter: 254,000,000
- 2008-S Proof Alaska Quarter: 2,078,112
- 2008-S Silver Proof Alaska Quarter: 1,192,908
Alaska Quarter Specifications
- Designers: William Cousins after John Flanagan (obverse), Susan Gamble (reverse)
- Composition: 91.67% copper, 8.33% nickel (clad), 90% silver, 10% copper (silver proof)
- Diameter: 24.26 mm
- Weight: 5.67 grams
- Thickness: 1.75 mm
- Edge: Reeded