Collecting U.S. State Quarters

Since the release of the individual state quarters, coin collecting has become a more popular hobby.
The U.S. State Quarter program began in 1999 and each state was released in the order in which it joined the union. The U.S. Mint estimates that around 147 million people have been collecting the state quarters since their release.
The program is also credited for drawing in new collectors and increasing the general public’s interest in coin collecting overall. Due to its popularity, more coin programs are currently in the works for the next several years.
The process in which each design was selected took cooperation from congress, the U.S. Mint, and each individual state. Once the governor is contacted, the state provided three to five narrative descriptions of possible design ideas. This information was then passed on to the Mint, where an artist would create the possible pictures. These options were then sent back to the state for approval and historical accuracy checking.

South Carolina State Quarter
South Carolina State Quarter

After that, the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts review the coins. These commissions review all possible coinage in the United States. They would select which design they felt was best, though this was an advisory role, not a final choice. The Secretary of Treasury would then review the choices before sending the designs back to the state for final approval on which design would actually be used. Though the Secretary would have the discretion to veto any choices, it was the state that made the final design choice. Once approved, the Secretary would sign off on it and the coin would be sent to the Mint.
Delaware State Quarter
Delaware State Quarter

Some of the first quarters that were released have already increased slightly in value. Single Delaware quarters, for example, are worth around $.40 now (at the time of this writing). This was the first in the series, minted in 1999. Coin values for subsequent mints are $.25 to $.45. Since so many of each coin was made, there are no rare dates or mint marks to look for. There have, however, been a few errors in design, which can increase the value significantly. Coins must be in mint condition to be worth anything over face value, so it is best to place collections into a folder to keep them protected from damage.
The next step in the state quarter program is to release coins for the 5 territories, beginning in 2009. These will include Guam and Puerto Rico. In 2010, the Mint will begin to release another series of quarters for each state and territory picturing a national park or historic site. As with the state quarter program, they will be released at the number of 5 per year for 11 years. Instead of basing the releases on when each state entered the union, these coins will go in order of when the selected site was declared a national park or historic site. The design process is expected to be similar to that of the state quarters. Continuing the series guarantees a continued interest in coin collecting, possibly a growth in the pastime.
Written by Catrina Rudd, Copyright 2009 all rights reserved and may not be republished in any form.

1 thought on “Collecting U.S. State Quarters”

  1. I have been collecting the state quarters from the beginning. There are so many different varieties and errors it would be very difficult to get them all.

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