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Published: Friday, 5/4/2001

The Editors: State panel pitches quarters with Wright brothers' aircraft

The Wright brothers are big enough for two state quarters, and Ohio intends to have one of them, Tom Noe, chairman of Ohio's commemorative quarter committee, said yesterday during a taping of The Editors television program.

The committee's top choice, called “Birthplace of Aviation,” features the Wright airplane and an astronaut. The second choice, “Spirit of Invention,” has the Wright craft and Thomas Edison's light bulb.

“The people on the 11-member commission, who will recommend it to the governor, are strongly looking at a Wright flyer on [the Ohio quarter], depending on whatever motto we use on the coin,” Mr. Noe said.

The North Carolina quarter, released this year, shows the Wright flyer in flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903 with the motto, “First Flight.”

“I think that's fair,” Mr. Noe said. “They can claim the first flight; the flight did happen in North Carolina. But people forget the Wright brothers built this plane in Ohio, put it together in Ohio, disassembled it in Ohio, and took it down to North Carolina because we don't have any good mountains to jump off of with some cross winds.

Mr. Noe, president of Vintage Coins & Collectibles in Monclova Township, and Stephen George, executive director of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, were questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade, and Marilou Johanek, a member of the editorial board.

The Editors will be broadcast at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

Mr. George recalled that when asked about North Carolina's quarter by a reporter there, he answered, “I'm flattered that North Carolina chose two Ohioans to put on their quarter.”

He was impressed by Ohio's 20th-century themes, a first for the commemorative quarters.

The U.S. Mint revised three of the four designs the Ohio committee submitted - including adding 17 stars to show that Ohio was the 17th state admitted to the union.

Mr. Noe believes the committee will submit three designs - “Birthplace of Aviation”; “Spirit of Invention,” and a depiction of a cardinal and buckeye.

“I think ultimately we'll get the coin that we want,” Mr. Noe said.

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