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John Muir: California State Quarter


2016 NPS Centennial Commemorative Gold Coin 2016 National Park Service Centennial Commemorative Coin




2005 California State Quarter

The 2005 California State Quarter issued by the United States Mint, depicts naturalist and conservationist John Muir admiring Yosemite Valley’s monolithic granite headwall known as Half Dome with a soaring California condor.

On January 31, 2005, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope released the following statement: "The Sierra Club applauds Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver for selecting the John Muir-Yosemite design for the California State Quarter. We also congratulate artist and Sierra Club member Garrett Burke for his winning design that pays such a wonderful tribute to California's natural and human heritage. John Muir literally coined conservation as we know it and so it's particularly fitting that we have placed him on the California quarter. Muir's relationship with Yosemite reminds us of the powerful connections that people have to nature, and how beautiful places can inspire us to reach incredible heights. That was essentially Muir's dream when he founded the Sierra Club over a century ago. John Muir's work is far from done. We still have spectacular coastline, cathedral forest, wild rivers and stunning desert, which are vulnerable but can be protected for future generations. I look forward to working with Governor Schwarzenegger and others to keep John Muir's legacy on a roll."

Final Proof of John Muir Yosemite California State Quarter

Comprehensive information about the California State Quarter, released on January 31, 2005:

Related Websites and News Updates

On March 29, 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his selection of the John Muir- Yosemite design to represent the Golden State in the U.S. Mint's 50 State Quarters ® Program. The design was adapted from a concept by Garrett Burke.

The U.S. Mint released the coins for only a ten-week period in early 2005. They are now found in normal circulation, and through coin dealers.

The U.S. Mint began minting the state quarters since 1999 and has scheduled five quarters to be released each year -- running from the Delaware quarter on Jan. 4, 1999, until the Hawaii quarter on Aug. 21, 2008.

The California state quarter is the 31st in the series to be issued.

Coin Specifications:
     •      Standard Weight = 5.670g
     •      Standard Diameter = 0.955 in (24.26mm)
     •      Thickness = 1.75 mm
     •      Edge = Reeded
     •      Composition = Cupro-Nickel Clad (8.33% Nickel, Balance Cu)

Sierra Club celebrates John Muir, Yosemite on California Quarter
Statement by Carl Pope, Executive Director (January 31, 2005 (archived page on WayBack Machine)

Check back on this page for frequent updates. Scroll down for lots more information!

John Muir California State Quarter Images

All images courtesy of the U.S. Mint

The Governor's Selection and Process

About the California State Quarter Designers

  • Garrett Burke - concept designer - artist who conceived and submitted the winning coin concept
  • Alfred Maletsky - recently retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver who rendered the design
  • Don Everhart - sculptor - newly hired U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver who will model the final version of the coin


  • California Quarter Unveiling Press Conference - with Maria Shriver, Dr. Kevin Starr, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - March 29, 2004 (mp3 format - 5.4 MB) (about 12 minutes) - Off-site link to
    MP3 Embed from
  • Reporter's Notebook: Design Unveiled for California Quarter - Interview of Kevin Starr - KCRW's "Which Way, LA?" radio discussion between Award-winning moderator Warren Olney and legendary California State Librarian Dr. Kevin Starr - March 29, 2004. (off-site link)
  • Coin Talk Radio Program - May 10, 2004
    Audio no longer available.
    Garrett Burke, Winning Design Submitter
    Sarah Dalton, Co-Coordinator, The California State Quarter Project
    Segment 1: [Original in Windows Media Player]
    Garrett and Sarah discuss their involvement in the Quarter Project.
    Segment 2: [Original Windows Media Player]
    The Design submission and selection processes are discussed.
    Segment 3: [Original Windows Media Player]
    Using the State Quarters as an educational tool.

California Quarter Collectibles

California Quarter Corn Mazes

California Quarter Sand Sculpture

  • California Quarter Sand Sculpture - East Beach, Dunbar, Scotland - July, 2009
  • See also newspaper article: US Muir coin designer in Dunbar - "AN AMERICAN [Garrett Burke] who designed a 25 cent coin in memory of Dunbar-born conservationist John Muir has said that East Lothian 'looks a million dollars'". (offsite link - East Lothian Courier, July 30, 2009) Note: this article incorrectly states that Burke helped create the sand sculpture above, but everyone involves affirms the sand sculpture was solely the creation of Jo Moulin and Duncan Smeed.

Volunteer Webmaster of the John Muir Exhibit, Harold Wood:

Updated January 28, 2023

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