Anna May Wong Quarter: A Tribute to a Hollywood Trailblazer

anna may wong quarter


In the shimmering tapestry of the American Women Quarters™ Program, the Anna May Wong Quarter stands as a luminous gem, paying homage to a trailblazing figure in the world of cinema. Anna May Wong, heralded as the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood, etches her legacy onto the numismatic canvas of 2022.

The Enigmatic Luminary

Anna May Wong’s journey began on January 3, 1905, in the heart of Los Angeles. Born with the name Wong Liu Tsong, her family adorned her with the English name Anna May, a moniker that would soon be synonymous with cinematic brilliance. Her silver screen debut was humble, as an extra in “The Red Lantern” (1919) at a tender age of 14. The seeds of stardom were sown, as she transitioned from these nascent roles to her inaugural lead in “The Toll of the Sea” (1922).

Her presence illuminated the realms of motion pictures, television, and theater. A constellation of over 60 movies adorned her trajectory, spanning the spectrum from silent films to the pioneering embrace of Technicolor. A historic milestone marked her journey when she took the helm as the first Asian American lead actor in a U.S. television show, gracing screens with “The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong” (1951).

Yet, her odyssey was not without trials. Hollywood’s discriminatory undercurrents compelled her to traverse oceans, finding solace and recognition in European cinema. From English to German to French films, she wielded her artistry across linguistic landscapes. The stages of London and New York bore witness to her multifaceted talents.

An Icon Ascends

Anna May Wong’s star, quite literally, found its place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. On February 3, 1961, her physical journey concluded, but her legacy refused to fade. An international film star, a fashion muse, a trailblazer in television, and an advocate for the amplified presence of Asian Americans in cinema, her essence resonates through the corridors of time. Her influence ripples across generations, an enduring testament to her indomitable spirit.

The Visage of Valor

The obverse of this quarter narrates the quintessential tale of George Washington, a portrait that materialized through the hands of Laura Gardin Fraser. This tribute to Washington’s bicentennial birth in 1932 was initially envisioned by Fraser, though the design of John Flanagan eventually graced the coin.

On the reverse, Anna May Wong emerges from the luminescence of a marquee sign, her countenance exuding both contemplation and charisma. This close-up encapsulates the essence of a woman who defied conventions and illuminated screens across the globe.

A Coin’s Chronicle

The synergy of inscriptions materializes on this coin—a dance of words that transcends time. LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST remind us of enduring values, while the year 2022 cements this chapter in numismatic history. On the reverse, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, QUARTER DOLLAR, and ANNA MAY WONG form a chorus that reverberates through time.

Unveiling Specifications

Within its physicality, this quarter holds its composition—a blend of Cupro-Nickel with a delicate dance of 8.33% Nickel and the balance of Copper. Weighing in at 5.670 grams, its diameter spans 0.955 inches while its thickness stands at 1.75 millimeters. The edge holds 119 reeds, a tactile signature that enriches its essence.

The Artistry Behind

Laura Gardin Fraser’s deft hand lends life to the obverse, while the sculptor John P. McGraw and designer Emily Damstra contribute their artistry to the reverse. A harmonious blend of creative forces, resulting in a coin that transcends its physicality, capturing the spirit of Anna May Wong in each glint.

As the Anna May Wong Quarter emerges as the fifth coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program, it enshrines the legacy of a luminary. A beacon of resilience, artistry, and cultural impact, Anna May Wong’s presence continues to inspire, both within the reels of history and on the tangible canvas of numismatics.

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