Dortha Delena Shaw Scott (1936–)

Dortha Delena Shaw Scott of Mount Ida (Montgomery County) created the design for the Arkansas quarter. Her design was chosen from among more than 9,300 entries in a statewide contest by a panel of ten judges and Governor Mike Huckabee. The final design was unveiled to the public on October 7, 2002, at the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The quarter officially entered circulation October 28, 2003, at Murfreesboro (Pike County).

Dortha Shaw was born on January 11, 1936, near Mount Ida. Her parents were Henry and Carrie (Manley) Shaw. Henry Shaw, who died on September 7, 1936, was a carpenter most of his life, and Carrie Shaw was a homemaker. Dortha had five siblings: Gene, Helen, Maxine, Franklin, and Faris. She married Lloyd Wilbor Scott of Mount Ida on October 18, 1952; they had four daughters: Debbie, Deyon, Barbara, and Brenda.

Scott is a self-taught artist. She began sketching and painting at a very early age. Many of her illustrations can be found in the two-volume Montgomery County: Our Heritage history books, published by the Montgomery County Historical Society in 1987 and 1990.

In 1997, the United States Department of the Treasury was authorized to produce a quarter honoring each state. Starting in 1999, the coins were released five each year for ten years, in chronological order according to when each state joined the union. The Arkansas quarter was the twenty-fifth to be released.

The State of Arkansas subsequently created a contest for the design of the quarter. Scott’s design includes a mallard duck in flight, several stalks of rice, and a cut diamond. All three elements are superimposed over a tree-lined river scene. The mallard symbolizes the state’s abundant natural resources and its national reputation as a center for duck hunting. The rice pays homage to Arkansas’s standing as the leading rice producer in the United States. The diamond symbolizes the Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, the eighth largest diamond deposit in the world, the only diamond deposit in North America, and the only site in the world where the public can search for diamonds.

Scott received a certificate of appreciation from the governor’s office and a $1,000 check from the Delta Trust and Bank and the Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation. Mike Ross, congressman for the Fourth District of Arkansas, read a statement into the October 29, 2003, Congressional Record for the first session of the 108th Congress, honoring the design contributions made by Dortha Scott of Mount Ida for the Arkansas quarter. Scott was recognized at the Arkansas quarter launch ceremony held at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. In the months after the quarter’s release, she was honored at the annual Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce banquet. Many schools, banks, and coin shows invited her to come and be recognized and autograph memorabilia.

For additional information:
Balch, John. “Diamond of Day Launches Arkansas Quarter into History.” Murfreesboro Diamond, October 30, 2003, p. 1.

Bowers, Rodney. “U.S. Mint Rolls out Arkansas Quarter.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 29, 2003, p. 1B.

Caillouet, Linda S. “Designs for Two-bit Coin Worth $1,000 to Three.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 18, 2001, pp. 1B, 11B.

Ross, Mike. “Congressman Ross Honors Dortha Scott with Reading Congressional Record on State Quarter.” Montgomery County News, January 1, 2004, p. 1.

Wallace, Mike. “Mount Ida Lady’s Quarter Design Picked to Represent State.” Montgomery County News, October 17, 2002, p. 1.

Debbie (Scott) Baldwin
Mount Ida, Arkansas


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