Rainbow and gecko lose as coin contenders
The ukulele also may be eliminated from the state quarter lineup
When flipping a quarter a few years from now, it's likely you won't see a rainbow, a ukulele or a gecko on it.
Among popular suggestions for Hawaii's quarter:
» Diamond Head
» Outline of Hawaiian Islands
» King Kamehameha I
» Iolani Palace
» Duke Kahanamoku statue
» Hula dancers
» Outrigger canoe
Those icons have all but been eliminated from a list of possible symbols to be included on the Hawaii commemorative quarter.
Leading contenders that might be included on the coin are an outline of the state, Diamond Head, King Kamehameha I, Iolani Palace and the word "Aloha," among some 25 others, said Carol Pregill, executive director of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii and one of about 40 commissioners charged with narrowing the list of suggestions.
The commissioners, chosen to represent all islands and different ethnic groups, met for about two hours Friday to consider themes submitted in the past few months by everyone from schoolchildren to people living on the mainland.
Commissioners have until July 27 to select as many as five complete coin layouts for Gov. Linda Lingle, who will then forward them to the U.S. Mint for approval.
Plans are to have the quarters ready around 2008. Hawaii will be the last in the program to be minted.
Commissioner Laura Figueira called the entries, ranging from surfing to volcanoes to taro, "pretty predictable."
State Sen. Fred Hemmings has been vocal about having surfing or a wave on a coin that will represent an island state often associated with big surf. Another concern is that the coin should embody the entire Hawaiian chain, which could end up having commissioners opt for a generic outline of the islands over popular Diamond Head. It must also be unique to the state, meaning that humpback whales or volcanoes might not be the best option, said Pregill.
"This is what makes the process so difficult, because it needs to be something representative of the state, immediately identifiable of the state," said Pregill.
Wayne Watanabe, a retired principal of Kapaa High School on Kauai, said he brings personal expertise as a former collector of coins and stamps. He said he is also studying quarters from other states for inspiration until the commission's next meeting June 29, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the state Capitol.
To make things harder, there are also rules to follow on what images are allowed onto the quarter.
For example, while landmarks, flowers and animals are welcome, living people or the state flag have been banned. Multiple symbols are OK, though there is only so much room on a piece of metal less than 1 inch in diameter.