Wong died in 1961 after a celebrated career in film, and she is once again being honored for her contributions: Her image will be featured on new coins by the United States mint, making her the first Asian American ever on US currency.

“This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments by Anna May Wong, who overcame challenges and obstacles she faced during her lifetime,” Mint Director Ventris Gibson said in a statement.

2022 American Women Quarters Rolls and Bags™ – Anna May Wong On Sale October 25

The rolls and bags product options include:

  •  Priced at $40.00, a bag of 100 uncirculated clad quarter dollars minted in Philadelphia (product code 22WBJ).
  • Priced at $40.00, a bag of 100 uncirculated clad quarter dollars minted in Denver (product code 22WBK).
  • Priced at $36.00, a two-roll set containing a total of 80 uncirculated clad quarter dollars minted in Philadelphia and Denver (product code 22WRJ).
  • Priced at $54.00, a three-roll set containing a total of 120 uncirculated clad quarter dollars minted in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco (product code 22WRK).

Sign up to receive “Remind Me” alerts by visiting the official product listing page. Because of overwhelming demand, much of the production of the 100-coin bags and two- and three-roll sets are accounted for through subscription.

“The fifth coin in our American Women Quarters Program honors Anna May Wong, a courageous advocate who championed for increased representation and more multi-dimensional roles for Asian American actors,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. “This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments by Anna May Wong, who overcame challenges and obstacles she faced during her lifetime.”

The reverse (tails) design features a close-up image of Anna May Wong with her head resting on her hand, surrounded by the bright lights of a marquee sign. The inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “ANNA MAY WONG,” “QUARTER DOLLAR,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” It was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist John McGraw.

“Many prominent actors from the 1920s and 1930s saw their name framed by lightbulbs on movie theater marquees, so I thought it made sense to feature Anna May Wong in this way,” said Damstra. “Along with the hard work, determination, and skill Anna May Wong brought to the profession of acting, I think it was her face and expressive gestures that really captivated movie audiences, so I included these elements next to her name.”

The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday.  Though her work was a recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design. Of Fraser, Director Gibson said, “I am proud that the new obverse design of George Washington is by one of the most prolific female sculptors of the early 20th century. Laura Gardin Fraser’s work is lauded in both numismatic and artistic circles. Ninety years after she intended for it to do so, her obverse design has fittingly taken its place on the quarter.”

As the US mint begins shipping the special quarters yesterday, here are five facts about Wong’s life and storied career:

Wong was just 14 years old when she was cast as an extra in The Red Lantern, her first film.

Three years later, in 1922, she was given her first lead role in the film, The Toll of the Sea.

However, despite her talent as an actress, Wong was often assigned roles portraying racist, stereotyped images of Asian people. Two years after The Toll of the Sea, Wong played a Mongol slave in The Thief of Bagdad and was often given “dragon lady” roles in films – a stereotype portraying Asian women as fierce and mysterious.

Wong was famously passed over for the lead role in the 1937 film The Good Earth, based on a famous novel about a Chinese farming family. Instead, the role was given to white actress Luise Rainer.

Despite the prevalence of racism in Hollywood, Wong consistently pushed for greater representation of Asian-American actors. Her demands eventually started to bear fruit: in 1938, she was given a more sympathetic role as a Chinese American doctor in The King of Chinatown.

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