Anna May Wong, a Chinese-American actor, joined writer Maya Angelou and astronaut Sally Ride in a series of newly minted US currencies, becoming the first Asian-American to do so. The New York Times reported that the US Mint started producing coins pressed with Wong’s close-up face on Monday, October 17. 

The series of coins with Wong’s face is part of a four-year program called the American Women Quarters that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of women in the history of the United States. The program was initiated in 2022 and it is authorised under the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020. 

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“The American Women Quarters may feature contributions from a variety of fields, including, but not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts,” the US Mint website says. “The women honored will be from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.”

Along with Angelou, Ride and Wong, Wilma Mankiller – the first female elected chief of the Cherokee Nation, and Nina Otero-Warren – a leader of New Mexico’s suffrage movement, will also appear minted on US coins in 2022, as part of the program.

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It will continue for four years till 2025 and up to five new coins will be issued each year with the face of prominent female leaders from the US. However, US Mint confirmed that the obverse of each coin will have the face of George Washington, but its design will be different from the previously issued quarters. 

US Mint has already announced the list of names who will feature in the series next year.

Among them are Bessie Coleman – the first African-American and Native-American woman pilot, Edith Kanakaʻole – an indigenous Hawaiian composer, Eleanor Roosevelt – first lady and author, Jovita Idar – a Mexican American journalist, activist, and teacher, and Maria Tallchief – The US’s first prima ballerina.