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2023 Kanaka'ole Quarter Error

2023 Kanaka'ole Quarter Error


The 2023 Kanaka'ole Quarter is a coin that holds not only monetary value but also deep historical significance. As the seventh coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program, it pays tribute to Edith Kanaka'ole, an indigenous Hawaiian composer, chanter, and kumu hula who dedicated her life to preserving Hawaiian culture and traditions. The reverse of the coin features a mesmerizing depiction of Kanaka'ole, with her hair and lei po'o morphing into the elements of a Hawaiian landscape, symbolizing the connection between her work and the natural land.

Edith Kanaka'ole: A Cultural Icon

Edith Kanaka'ole, affectionately known as "Aunty Edith," was not only a renowned practitioner of Hawaiian culture and language but also a custodian of native customs and traditions. Born in Hilo, Hawaii, she learned hula from her mother, who had been instructed by the acclaimed dancer Akoni Mika. Kanaka'ole firmly believed that Hawaiian chants, known as oli, formed the foundation of Hawaiian values and history.

In 1946, Kanaka'ole began composing oli and choreographing hula to accompany her chants. Her compositions showcased the richness of Hawaiian culture and served as a means to rescue aspects of Hawaiian history and traditions that were at risk of disappearing due to cultural bigotry. Kanaka'ole's dedication to preserving the essence of Hawaiian heritage led her to establish her own hālau (hula school), Halau O Kekuhi, and tour extensively, spreading the beauty of hula and oli across the United States, Canada, and Asia.

The Legacy of Edith Kanaka'ole

Edith Kanaka'ole's immense contributions to Hawaiian culture and language were recognized and honored during her lifetime. In 1979, she received the Distinction of Cultural Leadership award, the highest honor bestowed by the state of Hawaii, for her outstanding lifetime contributions to the cultural, artistic, and humanistic aspects of the Hawaiian community. Kanaka'ole's teachings, beliefs, and practices continue to be upheld by the Edith Kanaka'ole Foundation (EKF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Hawaiian culture.

The Design of the Kanaka'ole Quarter

The obverse (heads) of the Kanaka'ole Quarter features a portrait of George Washington, originally sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to commemorate Washington's 200th birthday. The design was recommended for the 1932 quarter but ultimately selected by then-Treasury Secretary Mellon. The reverse (tails) of the coin showcases a captivating depiction of Edith Kanaka'ole, with her hair and lei po'o blending seamlessly into the elements of a Hawaiian landscape. The inscription "E hō mai ka 'ike," meaning "granting the wisdom," serves as a testament to the intertwined role of hula and chants in preserving Hawaiian culture.

The Rarity of the Kanaka'ole Quarter Error

While the Kanaka'ole Quarter itself holds historical significance, there is a rare variation known as the Kanaka'ole Quarter Error that has captured the attention of collectors and numismatists. The error occurs when a flaw in the minting process results in a misalignment of the design elements on the coin. These errors are highly sought after by collectors due to their rarity and the unique aesthetic they present.

Identifying the Kanaka'ole Quarter Error

2023-P EDITH KANAKA'OLE Multiple Errors - Etsy

To identify a Kanaka'ole Quarter Error, collectors look for distinct visual discrepancies in the alignment of the design elements. The error typically manifests as a misalignment between the portrait of Edith Kanaka'ole and the surrounding landscape. The misalignment can vary in severity, with some errors being subtle and others more noticeable.

Collectors often use magnifying tools and reference guides to accurately assess the alignment of the design elements on the coin. The rarity of the Kanaka'ole Quarter Error makes it a prized find for those passionate about collecting and preserving unique pieces of numismatic history.

The Value of the Kanaka'ole Quarter Error

The value of a Kanaka'ole Quarter Error can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the misalignment, the overall condition of the coin, and the demand among collectors. Generally, the more pronounced and visually striking the error, the higher its value is likely to be.

Collectors interested in acquiring a Kanaka'ole Quarter Error should consider consulting reputable coin dealers and numismatic experts who specialize in error coins. These professionals can provide valuable insights into the rarity and market value of specific error variations.

Preserving the Legacy of Edith Kanaka'ole

Collecting and cherishing the Kanaka'ole Quarter, whether it is the standard version or the error variation, allows individuals to pay homage to the extraordinary life and contributions of Edith Kanaka'ole. By sharing the story behind the coin and its historical significance, we ensure that the legacy of this cultural icon lives on.

The 2023 Kanaka'ole Quarter serves as a tangible reminder of the importance of preserving cultural heritage and traditions. Through the artistry and craftsmanship of the coin, we can celebrate the resilience and beauty of Hawaiian culture and honor the memory of Edith Kanaka'ole, a woman whose passion and dedication continue to inspire generations.


The 2023 Kanaka'ole Quarter is not just a coin; it's a testament to the life and work of Edith Kanaka'ole, a revered figure in Hawaiian culture. Whether collectors seek the standard version or the rare Kanaka'ole Quarter Error, each coin represents a piece of history and serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving cultural heritage. As we hold these coins in our hands, we honor the legacy of Edith Kanaka'ole and the rich traditions she fought to protect.

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