The U.S. Mint has struck the first Iowa quarters. State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald was in Denver for the occasion on Monday. At about three o’clock he pressed the button — had to press it 3 times, in fact — to start a machine that stamped out the first quarters and he says they’re “beautiful.” The design that was chosen for the flip side of the 25-cent piece honoring Iowa has the message “Foundation in Education” and the picture’s from a Grant Woods painting called “Arbor Day,” of a schoolhouse with a teacher and pupil out in the yard. Fitzgerald and other members of the Iowa delegation each got to push the button that stamped out one of the first coins Monday. Pretty soon production goes “on automatic pilot,” he says and start mass-producing millions of coins. Then on September 3 the governor holds an open hours to celebrate the start of distribution nationwide. Fitzgerald says an Iowa business based in Cedar Rapids even provides the layered sheets of metal alloy used to stamp out the coins.He confirms the PMX Corporation produces the metal the coins are made from, another link with Iowa and the coins.