Coins Come To The Sands at Hampton Beach

By Bette Hirtle

Atlantic News and Beach News

Thursday, August 24, 2000

Sand-quarter under construction
The NH "sand-quarter under construction by
Greg Grady and Laurie Arntz-Tournoux
[Courtesy photo by Bette Hirtle]

HAMPTON BEACH — Despite the rain, a large crowd gathered at Hampton Beach on August 16 to view the eight foot high sand sculpture of the newly minted New Hampshire state quarter. The sculpture created by Greg Grady and Laurie Arntz-Tournoux celebrated the minting of the New Hampshire state quarter and kicked off the annual Children’s Festival Sand Sculpture Contest. Topped with an eagle and flags, it depicts the Old Man of the Mountain with nine stars around the edge. The state motto, "Live Free or Die" and 1788 are also part of the design.

Using ten tons of sand and approximately ten tons of water, Grady and Arntz-Tournoux, both from Sand Sculptors of New Hampshire, spent approximately sixty hours creating the coin from the silt sand that was trucked onto the beach for the project. When the process began, large blue bands which formed cylinders were packed with wet sand. Six inch layers were pounded down to make a tall firm cylinder of sand for sculpting. According to Arntz-Tournoux, this part of the process is physically demanding and took about twelve hours to complete. As each phase of the sculpture was completed the surface was misted with a diluted mixture of Elmer’s glue and water used to prevent the sand from blowing away. The pair worked into the night using flashlights and flood lights to insure that the sculpture would be completed in time for the big event.

The new New Hampshire Quarter on the sands.
[A Hirtle courtesy photo]
Keeping a watchful eye on the sky, the crowd was rewarded by clearing skies just before Jay Johnson, Director of the United States Mint, stepped to the microphone to greet the crowd. Emphasizing the educational nature of the Fifty States Quarters Program, Johnson pointed out that the New Hampshire quarter which features the Old Man of the Mountain is the first in the series to represent a natural rock formation found in a state. Johnson noted that each quarter provides its own history lesson of the state. In addition to the face of the Old Man of the Mountain, the coin also has the state motto, "Live Free or Die", the nine stars representing the fact that New Hampshire was the ninth state to join the Union and 1788, the date that New Hampshire ratified the U. S. Constitution. One unique feature of the New Hampshire Quarter is that it is the only coin in the world with two heads.

The Director of the Mint noted that the Fifty State Quarters Program is very popular, not only in the United States but all around the world. People who have never been coin collectors have started taking up the hobby. During the ten week period when the Delaware quarter, the first in the series, was minted 600 million coins were produced, while during the ten week period that the New Hampshire quarter will be minted, 1.3 billion quarters will be produced. The increase was necessary to keep up with the demand of collectors and to provide enough currency for commerce. An enthusiastic supporter of the Fifty State Quarter program, Johnson has enjoyed participating in the celebrations in each state as their state quarter has been launched. This was his first trip to New Hampshire. As Director of the United States Mint, Johnson is responsible for all the United States Mints and the gold stored at Fort Knox

As the sun peaked from behind the clouds, 160 children between the ages of 3 and 14 took to the sand with buckets and shovels to create their own sand sculpture. Every child participating in the Sand Sculpture Contest received a New Hampshire state quarter courtesy of the U. S. Mint.

Other events held during the Children’s Festival week included the B. J. Hickman’s Magic Show, the Brownie and Julie Show, a visit with Ronald McDonald and the ever popular Children’s Parade with music by the Continentals and special guests Miss Hampton Beach and Ted the Cat. All of the children participating in the Children’s Parade were given a Fifty State Quarters collectors card with a New Hampshire state quarter courtesy of the U. S. Mint.

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