The 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act provides for designs to be submitted in accordance with the design selection and approval process developed by and in sole discretion of the Treasury Secretary. Because it is important that the nation's coinage and currency bear dignified designs of which the citizens of the United States can be proud, the Act further requires that the Secretary shall not select any frivolous or inappropriate design and no head-and-shoulders portrait or bust of any person, living or dead, and no portrait of a living person may be included in the design.
Designs shall maintain a dignity befitting the nation's coinage.
Designs shall have broad appeal to the citizens of the state and avoid controversial subjects or symbols that are likely to offend.
Suitable subject matter for design concepts include state landmarks (natural and man-made), landscapes, historically significant buildings, symbols of state resources or industries, official state flora and fauna, state icons (e.g., Texas Lone Star, Wyoming bronco, etc.), and outlines of the state.
State flags and state seals are not considered suitable for designs.
Consistent with the authorizing legislation, the states are encouraged to submit concepts that promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the state, its history and geography, and the rich diversity of our national heritage.
Priority consideration will be given to designs and concepts that are enduring representations of the state. Coins have a commercial life span of at least 30 years and are collected for generations.
Inappropriate design concepts include, but are not limited to logos or depictions of specific commercial, private, educational, civic, religious, sports, or other organizations whose membership or ownership is not universal.
Concepts or background materials submitted to the Mint which are covered by copyright, trademark, or other rights (such as privacy and publicity rights) must include a release acceptable to the Mint from the rights owner. This release must allow the concept or materials to be used on the coin, in marketing and promotional materials, and on the Mint's Web site for unlimited worldwide distribution without charge or restriction.