Search articles

Tune into International Jazz Day with the 2009 District of Columbia Quarter


The 2009 District of Columbia Quarter honors jazz legend Duke Ellington. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

The popular music genre known as jazz comes in so many forms. Smooth jazz, funk, bossa nova, swing, big band, mainstream… You name it! There are countless names associated with the jazz movement, which saw its origins in the African American community of New Orleans during the late-19th and early 20th centuries.

Blues and ragtime music were among the earliest forms of the genre now collectively known as jazz, though it has branched off into many incredible forms over the last century. Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, and Buddy Rich are among the earlier names associated with jazz; Steely Dan, Chicago, Bela Fleck, Weather Report, Quincy Jones, and the Johnson Brothers are some of the many artists from the last few decades who have also built their distinctive sounds around the genre. But one of the greatest influences in the jazz world hailed not from New Orleans but rather from the nation’s capital: Washington, D.C. Does the name Duke Ellington sound familiar? If not, his story is one worth knowing about – especially if jazz music is the tops on your personal charts.

Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C., and later moved to New York City, where he and his orchestra built a name for themselves at The Cotton Club in Harlem. Writing or collaborating on more than 1,000 compositions, Ellington was one of the most prolific artists on the jazz scene in the 1920s and ‘30s. He enjoyed a revival of interest in the mid-1950s, spending the rest of his life building an untouchable legacy in the music world. He saw many homages to his life and career in his later years, including the bestowance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon in 1969. Ellington passed away in New York City on May 24, 1974, at the age of 75. Among the many songs by Ellington are “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Go That Swing),” and “Doin’ the Voom Voom.”

Numismatists can infuse some jazz into their coin cabinets by adding a 2009 District of Columbia Quarter or two to their collections. The 2009 District of Columbia Quarter, part of the popular one-year-only circulating program known as the Washington D.C. and U.S. Territorial Quarters, features a likeness of Ellington sitting at his piano. Business strikes, special strikes, and proofs exist (with the latter available in clad and silver compositions), and there are a multitude of options for including the 2009 District of Columbia Quarter in your PCGS Registry Set.

Set Registry History Washington Quarters (1932-1964)