Grizzly Bear To Be Part Of Alaska State Quarter

US Mint, Bear Hunting Magazine

The U.S. Mint's 50-state quarter collection is almost complete, with the penultimate state issuing a coin featuring a grizzly bear with a salmon in its jaws.

"Every coin is awesome but Alaska's is particularly awesome," said Andy Brunhart, U.S. Mint deputy director, who will fly to Alaska on Friday for the ceremonial launch at the Alaska State Fair. A congressional program started in 1999 circulates new quarters honoring a different state every 10 weeks in the order the states joined the union.

Alaska, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary Jan. 3 and put its coin into circulation on Monday, is the second-to-last state to appear on the commemorative cash.

The mint will manufacture at least a half billion Alaska quarters over 10 weeks, Brunhart said. The grizzly design was one of more than 850 submitted by state residents to the Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission, which narrowed the number to four.

Alaska contains over 98 percent of the U.S population of grizzlies, and more than 70 percent of the North American population, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Scientists estimate there are 30,000 grizzlies in the state.

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