Asian American community members and leaders are celebrating the upcoming release of the Anna May Wong quarters, which will be available for purchase next week.
Wong’s quarter is part of the four-year American Women Quarters Program that honors five women who have made a mark on American history. The quarters will start shipping on Monday and will be ready for purchase on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Mint.
“This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments by Anna May Wong, who overcame challenges and obstacles she faced during her lifetime,” U.S. Mint director Ventris C. Gibson said in a statement.
Many Asian American community members celebrated the news, including the late actor’s niece and namesake who learned about the program through the U.S. Mint’s head legal counsel.
“From there, it went into the designs and there were so many talented artists with many different renditions. I actually pulled out a quarter to look at the size to try and imagine how the images would transfer over to real life,” Wong told
the Associated Press. She will be one of the participants of the Nov. 4 U.S. Mint event at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, where “Shanghai Express,” one of Wong’s most notable films, will be screened before a panel discussion.
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Born in Los Angeles
on Jan. 3, 1905, Wong would help out at her family’s laundromat business while attending school when she was young. She would often visit studios to try out for movie roles.
In 1932, Wong starred in “Shanghai Express” alongside Marlene Dietrich. The movie helped Wong skyrocket to fame, and in 1934, the Mayfair Mannequin Society of New York named Wong the “world’s best-dressed woman.” Four years later, Look Magazine declared her the “world’s most beautiful Chinese girl.”
When the Anna May Wong quarter becomes available next week, Wong will make history as the first Asian American to be featured on U.S. currency.
“What it means is that people all across the nation — and my guess is around the world — will see her face and see her name,” Arthur Dong, the director of the 2007 documentary film “Hollywood Chinese,” told AP News. “If they don’t know anything about her, they will… be curious and want to learn something about her.”
Describing the quarter as “momentous,” Bing Chen, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Gold House, which is dedicated to elevating Asian and Asian American representation, praised the acting legend and called her a star “for generations.”
“In a slate of years when Asian women have faced extensive challenges — from being attacked to objectified on screen to being the least likely group to be promoted to corporate management — this currency reinforces what many of us have known all along: [they’re] here and worthy,” Chen said.
“It’s impossible to forget, though, as a hyphenated community, that Asian Americans constantly struggle between being successful and being seen.”
A bag of 100 uncirculated clad quarter dollars minted in Philadelphia will be priced at $40. Anny May Wong quarters minted in Denver will also have the same price. Meanwhile, a two-roll set containing 80 uncirculated clad quarter dollars will be priced at $36, while a three-roll set containing 120 uncirculated clad quarter dollars will be priced at $54.