The Missouri quarter is the fourth quarter of 2003, and the 24th in the 50 State Quarters® Program. Missouri became the 24th state on August 10, 1821, as a part of the Missouri Compromise. The Missouri quarter depicts Lewis and Clark’s historic return to St. Louis down the Missouri River, with the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch) in the background. The quarter is inscribed "Corps of Discovery 1804-2004."
While much of the state’s history is tied to the mighty rivers that flow through it, the "Show Me State" got its nickname because of the devotion of its people to simple common sense. In 1899, Rep. Willard D. Vandiver said, "Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri. You've got to show me." It is easy to imagine President Thomas Jefferson saying "show me" as he sent Lewis and Clark forth on their trek into the uncharted Louisiana Purchase territory. Their 8,000-mile journey westward and back, which some claim was the greatest U.S. military expedition ever, began in St. Charles, Missouri -- just 20 miles west of St. Louis -- in 1804 and ended when they returned to St. Louis, Missouri in 1806.
In February 2001, Governor Bob Holden announced the selection of the Missouri Commemorative Quarter Design Committee and requested statewide design submissions. During the month of March, the state received more than 3,000 concept submissions. The Missouri Commemorative Design Committee, composed of a team of experts, selected twelve finalists. The twelve finalists were presented to the public, who chose five concepts to forward to the United States Mint. The concepts included representations of the Pony Express, the nation’s westward expansion, Lewis and Clark, and a riverboat. From the candidate designs that the United States Mint returned to Governor Holden, "Corps of Discovery 1804-2004" was chosen by an online vote.
Provided by the U.S. Mint