Good Question: Why is George Washington looking the opposite way?

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — Let’s answer a good question about money.

A viewer with a good eye reached out with this message:

  • “I’d like to know why George Washington is facing the opposite direction with the new hairdo on the 2022 quarter?”

The change is legit. The ‘right-facing’ George Washington on quarters started in 2022. Up until this point, going back to 1932, he was always looking left, on the obverse or ‘heads’ side.

The change is part of the American Women Quarters Program. The U.S. Mint says:

  • It’s "a four-year program that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions made by women to the development and history of our country. Beginning in 2022, and continuing through 2025, the U.S. mint will issue up to five new reverse designs each year."

Those honored this year include writer and social activist Maya Angelou and Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. The heads side will continue to have our first president, just facing the other way, which is actually the original design made nearly a century ago.

That design was by Laura Gardin Fraser, one of the most well-known female sculptors of the early 20th century. The treasury secretary at the time opted for another left-facing design instead.

Here’s another interesting fun fact. Looking right or left, George Washington might be surprised today that he’s on the quarter. When they first started looking at making U.S. coins, he and Congress shot down coin designs showing our presidents. It reminded them too much of British coins featuring their queen or king.