New Mexico's quarter to circulate April 7
The seven-member coin commission decided the design should incorporate the two most popular suggestions—the Zia and New Mexico's landscape, Khan said.
Some people wanted specific landscapes, such as the Sandia Mountains or Shiprock, or specific sites, such as Taos Pueblo or the Palace of the Governors, Khan said. Other suggestions were more general "about the beauty of the landscape," he said.
"The commission shied away from (showing) one thing. It's hard to have one thing represent the whole state," Khan said.
Let's think about the alternatives for New Mexico's quarter a moment. First visualize everything you know about New Mexico. Then consider how it would work on a quarter:
Hmm. Looks to me like the three best choices were Indian-specific. I wonder what New Mexico's Anglos and Latinos, often at odds with their predecessors, would've thought about choosing one of these. Perhaps that's why the commission "shied away" from showing one (Indian) thing.
Other World Heritage Sites on US quarters include the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. New Mexico has three World Heritage Sites, tops in the US, but none were chosen to represent the state. "Yeah, we wouldn't want to make the sites jealous of each other. Let's pick something that isn't as famous or important as them."
For my previous thoughts on the subject, see The Safe, White State Quarters.