Celia Cruz is On The Money

Sofia Jones
 | July 25, 2023

Legendary singer Celia Cruz is literally going to be on money! Yes, over two decades after passing, Cruz is making her debut on United States currency.

This week, the government bureau responsible for actually making, and distributing, all of the country’s money, the U.S. Mint, unveiled the long-awaited design for the Celia Cruz quarter.

“The 2024 Celia Cruz Quarter,” as it’s officially called, is the 14th coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program launched by the U.S. Treasury Department to honor famous and inspirational women in the nation’s history. “She’s the first Afro Latina to have the honor,” NPR confirms.

On its website, the U.S. Mint describes Celia Cruz as “a Cuban-American singer, cultural icon, and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century.”

Great Women on Quarters

From 2022 to 2025, the Mint issues five quarters in the series every year. “The ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse group of individuals honored through this program reflects a wide range of accomplishments and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts,” the Mint boasts.

“I am honored to announce the designs of the 2024 American Women’s Quarters Program,” Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said in a recent press release. “These beautiful designs recognize the achievements of these extraordinary women, and add to the Mint’s rich history of telling our Nation’s story through enduring examples of numismatic art.”

The Mint even released an educational video on its YouTube channel to explain the historic program about the women who made change happen (pun intended).

Born in Havana, Cuba, on October 21, 1925, Celia Cruz reached international fame for pioneering the sounds of Caribbean music as the lead singer of a famous Cuban band, Sonora Matancera.

Even though the singer passed away in New Jersey in 2003, her signature voice and style lives on in her songs, like the popular “La Vida Es Un Carnaval,” “Quimbara,” and “Bemba Colorá.” To the delight of Cruz’s old and new fans alike, her trademark cheer from the stage and in her songs – “Azucar” – is featured alongside her image on the American coin.

And, the reveal of her new quarter, drew much excitement from her fans, as noted on social media.

“I can’t wait to have one in my pocket,” NILO DEL MONTE commented on Celia Cruz’s official Instagram account’s post about the quarter, while “@osmanigarciaoficial” commented with five red hearts, applause, and a happy face emoji.

“ … This is a historic moment for all Latinos of the world, but especially here in AMERICA …” Singer La India posted on her Instagram page, @yosoylaindia. “ … my godmother continues to grace us w/her music and hard work … when she’d say I’m gonna live forever, she truly meant it!!!!”

Designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill, a United States Mint “medallic artist,” the quarter depicts Celia Cruz “flashing her dazzling smile while performing in a rumba style dress. Her signature catchphrase “¡AZÚCAR!” is inscribed on the right,” the U.S. Mint explained in a press release.

Plus, in addition to Celia Cruz’s quarter, the 2024 coins will also feature Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray, the Honorable Patsy Takemoto Mink, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, and Zitkala-Ša.


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Featured image is from the image Hoja Suelta, by José Guadalupe Posada, 1901.
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