The Largest Living Thing on Earth
T H E C A L I F O R N I A Q U A R T E R U.S. Mint Competition finalist
This design was one of 5 finalists chosen from 8,000 submittals to the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program competiton, to represent the State of California. How can one symbol that scales to something as small as a coin represent all of California, one of the most vast and multi-faceted of states? California boasts the largest populace, economy, and number and range of climates for example. The symbol should not limit to any specific region, time-period, person or peoples, nor business sector — it should be inclusive, expansive, and unique.
The GIANT SEQUOIA grows nowhere else but California. Other obvious symbols: shoreline, a famous bridge, a bear,
a miner or a surfer could be claimed as well or perhaps better by other states — although none are home to this magnificent tree. The GIANT SEQUOIA, being the largest single living thing in the world, and nearly the oldest too, is a symbol sublime and unique to California.
This coin’s shape is already the same as a slice of a sequoia trunk. The congruence is exploited further when you can feel the concentric texture of the tree rings. Furthermore the ridged and thicker copper edge of the coin is similar to the thick copper colored bark edge of the sequoia’s trunk. Emblazoned on this chip is a full height tree with John Muir drawn to scale hiking below.