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Illinois Bicentennial Coin Unveiled

Illinois will soon mint commemorative coins to mark the state’s 200th birthday. They're the latest in a string of products the state is offering to mark its bicentennial year.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs hosted a several months-long contest, challenging designers to capture Illinois’ history on a single coin face. Submissions poured in from far and wide, but they were eventually whittled down to five finalists, whose designs were then voted on by the public.

The winner was Hayden Schumer, a 21 year old graphic designer from Chatham in Sangamon County. He says he’s grateful voters chose his design that features Abraham Lincoln, Route 66 and more.

“I was really excited and surprised. Throughout all the other great designs, I didn’t think mine would actually win," Schumer said at the unveiling in Springfield on Monday.

Frerichs says Schumer’s design had all the hallmarks of a well-designed coin.

“I think he did a good job of capturing our history, showing a lot of different things that make our state great," he explained. "Things that make us strong, like our industry and transportation, without being overly cluttered.”

The Treasurer’s office is taking pre-orders for the coins, which will be minted in silver by a company in Des Plaines and cost $45 a piece. Frerichs says that price tag will cover the minting costs.

The first batch of coins are expected to arrive in August.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.