The Quarter Dollar is a United States coin worth 25 cents. From its inception until 1964, the denomination was issued in silver; it underwent several design changes, including finally the silver Washington quarter (1932 - 1964) featuring the first President of the United States on the obverse and the American Eagle on the reverse, issued then until 1998 in copper-nickel. The U.S Mint then embarked on several long term projects: the State Quarters series of 50 coins featuring each State from 1999 to 2008; in 2009, a six-coin series represented the District of Columbia and five US territories, and then the America the Beautiful program (2010 - 2021). After a brief interlude with a Washington commemorative quarter, the U.S. Mint started the American Women Quarters program in 2022.
Running until 2025, the program honours five women on five reverse designs per year, selected for "contributions to the United States in a wide spectrum of accomplishments and fields, including but not limited to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and arts". The obverse depicts George Washington with a 1931 design by Laura Gardin Fraser.
The Maria Tallchief Quarter is the tenth coin in the American Women Quarters Program; it was released on ? 2023.
Maria Tallchief is widely considered the first American prima ballerina. She broke barriers as a Native American ballet dancer, exhibiting strength and resilience both on and off the stage.
Tallchief was born on 24 January 1925 in Fairfax, Oklahoma on the Osage reservation. She began dance lessons as a young girl and excelled at dance and playing piano. At the age of 17, she moved to New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming a ballerina. She was selected as an apprentice in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, the premier Russian ballet company in the United States. Her performances were applauded by critics and captured the attention of the dance professionals around her.
In 1946, Maria Tallchief married famed choreographer George Balanchine. With Tallchief’s exceptional technique and energy as a ballerina and Balanchine’s expertise and innovation as a choreographer, together, they transformed classical ballet, both in America and around the world. When the couple’s marriage ended, she remained at the forefront of Balanchine’s works for his company, the New York City Ballet. Tallchief remarried in 1956 to Henry “Buzz” Paschen, and gave birth to their daughter Elise in 1959. Family life ultimately drew her to Chicago. She retired as a performer in the late 1960s and founded the ballet school of the Lyric Opera. She also served as artistic director at the Chicago City Ballet.
Maria Tallchief died on 11 April 2013. The Osage Tribal Council gave Maria Tallchief a name selected by her grandmother, “Wa-Xthe-Thoṉba,” which translates to “Two Standards.” It reflects Tallchief’s life in two worlds - as an accomplished dance professional, and as a member of the Osage Nation, two identities that she proudly represented throughout her life.
Maria Tallchief Quarter Dollars issued in 2023 have now been in circulation for less than one year.