50 State Quarters

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The 50 State Quarters Program (Pub.L. 105–124, 111 Stat. 2534, enacted December 1, 1997) was the release of a series of circulating commemorative coins by the United States Mint. From 1999 through 2008, it featured each of the 50 U.S. states on unique designs for the reverse of the quarter.

The 50 State Quarters Program was started to support a new generation of coin collectors,[1][2] and it became the most successful numismatic program in history, with roughly half of the U.S. population collecting the coins, either in a casual manner or as a serious pursuit.[3] The U.S. federal government so far has made additional profits of $3.0 billion from collectors taking the coins out of circulation.[4]

In 2009, the U.S. Mint began issuing quarters under the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Program. The Territories Quarter Program was authorized by the passage of a newer legislative act, H.R. 2764. This program features the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.[5]

Treasury opposition and congressional enactment

The program's origins lie with the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (CCCAC), which was appointed by Secretary of Treasury Lloyd Bentsen in December 1993 and chaired by Mint Director Philip N. Diehl. From the first days of the CCCAC, one of its members, David Ganz, urged the committee to endorse the 50 States Quarters program, and in 1995, the CCCAC did so. The committee then sought the support of Representative Michael Castle (R-Delaware), chairman of the House Banking subcommittee with jurisdiction over the nation's coinage. Castle's initial caution was resolved when Diehl suggested the coins be issued in the order the states entered the Union. (Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution). Castle subsequently held hearings and filed legislation to authorize the program.[6]

Despite the support of the director of the mint and the treasury secretary-appointed CCCAC, the Treasury Department opposed the 50 States Quarters program, as commemorative coinage had come to be identified with abuses and excesses.[7] The mint's economic models estimated the program would earn the government between $2.6 billion and $5.1 billion in additional seignorage and $110 million in additional numismatic profits. Diehl and Castle used these profit projections to urge the Treasury's support, but Treasury officials found the projections to lack credibility (at the program's conclusion, the Mint estimated the program had earned $3.0 billion in additional seigniorage and $136.2 million in additional numismatic profits).[4]

Diehl worked with Castle behind the scenes to move legislation forward despite the Treasury's opposition to the program.[1][8] However, the Treasury suggested to Castle that the department should conduct a study to determine the feasibility of the program. With Diehl's advice, Castle accepted the Treasury's offer, and the agreement was codified in the United States Commemorative Coin Act of 1996.[9][10] The act also authorized the secretary to proceed with the 50 States Quarters program without further congressional action if the results of the feasibility study were favorable.

The Treasury Department engaged the consulting firm Coopers and Lybrand to conduct the study in 1997, which confirmed the Mint's demand, seigniorage and numismatic profit projections for the program.[7] Among other conclusions, the study found that 98 million Americans were likely to save one or more full sets of the quarters (at the program's conclusion, the Mint estimated that 147 million Americans collected the 50 state quarters). Nevertheless, the Treasury Department continued to oppose the program and declined to proceed with it without a congressional mandate to do so.[4]

In 1997, Congress issued that mandate in the form of S. 1228, the "United States Commemorative Coin Program Act", which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 1, 1997.

State Quarters Program

Obverse of the redesigned proof quarter; note the "S" mint mark.

The 50 state quarters were released by the United States Mint every ten weeks, or five each year. They were released in the same order that the states ratified the Constitution. Each quarter's reverse commemorated one of the 50 states with a design emblematic of its unique history, traditions and symbols. Certain design elements, such as state flags, images of living persons, and head-and-shoulder images of deceased persons were prohibited.

The authorizing legislation and Mint procedures gave states a substantial role and considerable discretion in determining the design that would represent their state. The majority of states followed a process by which the governor solicited the state's citizens to submit design concepts and appointed an advisory group to oversee the process. Governors submitted three to five finalist design concepts to the secretary of treasury for approval. Approved designs were returned to the states for selection of a final design.

States usually employed one of two approaches in making this selection. In 33 states, the governor selected the final recommended design, often based on the recommendations of advisory groups and citizens. In the other 17 states, citizens selected the final design through online, telephone, mail or other public votes. US Mint engravers applied all final design concepts approved by the secretary of treasury. The media and public attention surrounding this process and the release of each state's quarter was intense and produced significant publicity for the program.[4][11]

The State Quarters Program was the most popular commemorative coin program in United States history; the United States Mint has estimated that 147 million Americans have collected state quarters and 3.5 million participated in the selection of state quarter designs.[4]

By the end of 2008, all of the original 50 states quarters had been minted and released. The official total, according to the US Mint, was 34,797,600,000 coins. The average mintage was 695,952,000 coins per state, but ranged between Virginia's 1,594,616,000 to Oklahoma's 416,600,000. Demand was stronger for quarters issued early in the program. This was due to weakening economic conditions in later years and the waning of the initial surge of demand when the program was launched. Another factor was the reassertion of the Treasury Department's opposition to the program. When the director's term ended in 2000, the Treasury proceeded to reduce and finally terminate the most effective elements of the Mint's promotional program despite the high return on investment they earned.[citation needed]

There is believed to be a "curse" relating to the sites and landmarks featured on the reverse of the quarters; misfortune of some sort has afflicted 17 of the depicted designs. Among the most notable are the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation, which collapsed three years after being featured on the New Hampshire quarter, and the Maryland State House, which was struck by lighting that caused a fire that was promptly extinguished.[12]


Year No. State Release date
(statehood date)[13]
Mintage[14] Design Elements depicted Engraver
1999 1 Delaware January 1, 1999
(December 7, 1787)
774,824,000 Delaware quarter Caesar Rodney on horseback
Captions: "The First State", "Caesar Rodney"
William Cousins
2 Pennsylvania March 8, 1999
(December 12, 1787)
707,332,000 Pennsylvania quarter Commonwealth statue, state outline, keystone
Caption: "Virtue, Liberty, Independence"
John Mercanti
3 New Jersey May 17, 1999
(December 18, 1787)
662,228,000 New Jersey quarter Washington Crossing the Delaware, which includes George Washington (standing) and James Monroe (holding the flag)
Caption: "Crossroads of the Revolution"
Alfred Maletsky
4 Georgia July 19, 1999
(January 2, 1788)
939,932,000 Georgia quarter Peach, live oak (state tree) sprigs, state outline
Banner with text: "Wisdom, Justice, Moderation" (the state motto)
T. James Ferrell
5 Connecticut October 12, 1999
(January 9, 1788)
1,346,624,000 Connecticut quarter Charter Oak
Caption: "The Charter Oak"
T. James Ferrell
2000 6 Massachusetts January 3, 2000
(February 6, 1788)
1,163,784,000 Massachusetts quarter The Minuteman statue, state outline
Caption: "The Bay State"
Thomas D. Rodgers
7 Maryland March 13, 2000
(April 28, 1788)
1,234,732,000 Maryland quarter Dome of the Maryland State House, white oak (state tree) clusters
Caption: "The Old Line State"
Thomas D. Rodgers
8 South Carolina May 22, 2000
(May 23, 1788)
1,308,784,000 South Carolina quarter Carolina wren (state bird), yellow jessamine (state flower), cabbage palmetto (state tree), state outline
Caption: "The Palmetto State"
Thomas D. Rodgers
9 New Hampshire August 7, 2000
(June 21, 1788)
1,169,016,000 New Hampshire quarter Old Man of the Mountain, nine stars
Captions: "Old Man of the Mountain", "Live Free or Die"
William Cousins
10 Virginia October 16, 2000
(June 25, 1788)
1,594,616,000 Virginia quarter Ships Susan Constant, Godspeed, Discovery
Captions: "Jamestown, 1607–2007", "Quadricentennial"
Edgar Z. Steever
2001 11 New York January 2, 2001
(July 26, 1788)
1,275,040,000 New York quarter Statue of Liberty, 11 stars, state outline with line tracing Hudson River and Erie Canal
Caption: "Gateway to Freedom"
Alfred Maletsky
12 North Carolina March 12, 2001
(November 21, 1789)
1,055,476,000 North Carolina quarter Wright Flyer, John T. Daniels's iconic photo of the Wright brothers
Caption: "First Flight"
John Mercanti
13 Rhode Island May 21, 2001
(May 29, 1790)
870,100,000 Rhode Island quarter America's Cup yacht Reliance on Narragansett Bay, Pell Bridge
Caption: "The Ocean State"
Thomas D. Rodgers
14 Vermont August 6, 2001
(March 4, 1791)
882,804,000 Vermont quarter Maple trees with sap buckets, Camel's Hump Mountain
Caption: "Freedom and Unity"
T. James Ferrell
15 Kentucky October 15, 2001
(June 1, 1792)
723,564,000 Kentucky quarter Thoroughbred racehorse behind fence, Bardstown mansion, Federal Hill
Caption: "My Old Kentucky Home"
T. James Ferrell
2002 16 Tennessee January 2, 2002
(June 1, 1796)
648,068,000 Tennessee quarter Fiddle, trumpet, guitar, musical score, three stars
Banner with text: "Musical Heritage"
Donna Weaver
17 Ohio March 18, 2002
(March 1, 1803)
632,032,000 Ohio quarter Wright Flyer (built by the Wright Brothers who were born in Dayton, Ohio); astronaut (Neil Armstrong was a native of Wapakoneta, Ohio); state outline
Caption: "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers"
Donna Weaver
18 Louisiana May 30, 2002
(April 30, 1812)
764,204,000 Louisiana quarter Brown pelican (state bird); trumpet with musical notes, outline of Louisiana Purchase on map of U.S.
Caption: "Louisiana Purchase"
John Mercanti
19 Indiana August 8, 2002
(December 11, 1816)
689,800,000 Indiana quarter IndyCar, state outline, 19 stars
Caption: "Crossroads of America"
Donna Weaver
20 Mississippi October 15, 2002
(December 10, 1817)
579,600,000 Mississippi quarter Two magnolia blossoms (state flower)
Caption: "The Magnolia State"
Donna Weaver
2003 21 Illinois January 2, 2003
(December 3, 1818)
463,200,000 Illinois quarter Young Abraham Lincoln; farm scene; Chicago skyline; state outline; 21 stars, 11 on left edge and 10 on right
Captions: "Land of Lincoln;" "21st state/century"
Donna Weaver
22 Alabama March 17, 2003
(December 14, 1819)
457,400,000 Alabama quarter Helen Keller, seated, longleaf pine (state tree) branch, magnolia blossoms
Banner with text: "Spirit of Courage"
Caption: "Helen Keller" in standard print and Braille
Norman E. Nemeth
23 Maine June 2, 2003
(March 15, 1820)
448,800,000 Maine quarter Pemaquid Point Lighthouse; the schooner Victory Chimes[15] at sea Donna Weaver
24 Missouri August 4, 2003
(August 10, 1821)
453,200,000 Missouri quarter Gateway Arch, Lewis and Clark and York[16] returning down Missouri River
Caption: "Corps of Discovery 1804–2004"
Alfred Maletsky
25 Arkansas October 20, 2003
(June 15, 1836)
457,800,000 Arkansas quarter Diamond (state gem), rice stalks, mallard flying above a lake John Mercanti
2004 26 Michigan January 26, 2004
(January 26, 1837)
459,600,000 Michigan quarter State outline, outline of Great Lakes system
Caption: "Great Lakes State"
Donna Weaver
27 Florida March 29, 2004
(March 3, 1845)
481,800,000 Florida quarter Spanish galleon, Sabal palmetto (state tree), Space Shuttle
Caption: "Gateway to Discovery"
T. James Ferrell
28 Texas June 1, 2004
(December 29, 1845)
541,800,000 Texas quarter State outline, star, lariat
Caption: "The Lone Star State"
Norman E. Nemeth
29 Iowa August 30, 2004
(December 28, 1846)
465,200,000 Iowa quarter Schoolhouse, teacher and students planting a tree,
Captions: "Foundation in Education", "Grant Wood"
John Mercanti
30 Wisconsin October 25, 2004
(May 29, 1848)
453,200,000 Wisconsin quarter Head of a cattle, round of cheese and ear of corn (state grain).
Banner with text: "Forward"
Alfred Maletsky
2005 31 California January 31, 2005
(September 9, 1850)
520,400,000 California quarter John Muir, California condor, Half Dome
Captions: "John Muir," "Yosemite Valley"
Don Everhart
32 Minnesota April 4, 2005
(May 11, 1858)
488,000,000 Minnesota quarter Common loon (state bird), fishing, state map
Caption: "Land of 10,000 Lakes"
Charles L. Vickers
33 Oregon June 6, 2005
(February 14, 1859)
720,200,000 Oregon quarter  Crater Lake National Park
Caption: "Crater Lake"
Donna Weaver
34 Kansas August 29, 2005
(January 29, 1861)
563,400,000 Kansas quarter American bison (state mammal), sunflowers (state flower) Norman E. Nemeth
35 West Virginia October 14, 2005
(June 20, 1863)
721,600,000 West Virginia quarter New River Gorge Bridge
Caption: "New River Gorge"
John Mercanti
2006 36 Nevada January 31, 2006
(October 31, 1864)
589,800,000 Nevada quarter Mustangs, mountains, rising sun, sagebrush (state flower)
Banner with text: "The Silver State"
Don Everhart
37 Nebraska April 3, 2006
(March 1, 1867)
594,400,000 Nebraska quarter Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Conestoga wagon
Caption: "Chimney Rock"
Charles L. Vickers
38 Colorado June 14, 2006
(August 1, 1876)
569,000,000 Colorado quarter
Banner with text: "Colorful Colorado"
Norman E. Nemeth
39 North Dakota August 28, 2006
(November 2, 1889)
664,800,000 North Dakota quarter American bison, badlands Donna Weaver
40 South Dakota November 6, 2006
(November 2, 1889)
510,800,000 South Dakota quarter Mount Rushmore, ring-necked pheasant (state bird), wheat (state grass) John Mercanti
2007 41 Montana January 29, 2007
(November 8, 1889)
513,240,000 Montana quarter American bison skull in the center with mountains and the Missouri River in the background.
Caption: "Big Sky Country"
Don Everhart
42 Washington April 11, 2007
(November 11, 1889)
545,200,000 Washington quarter Salmon leaping in front of Mount Rainier
Caption: "The Evergreen State"
Charles L. Vickers
43 Idaho June 5, 2007[17]
(July 3, 1890)
581,400,000 Idaho quarter Peregrine falcon, state outline with star indicating location of state capital Boise, Idaho
Caption: "Esto Perpetua"
Don Everhart
44 Wyoming September 4, 2007
(July 10, 1890)
564,400,000 Wyoming quarter Bucking Horse and Rider
Caption: "The Equality State"
Norman E. Nemeth
45 Utah November 5, 2007
(January 4, 1896)
508,200,000 Utah quarter Golden Spike, Locomotives Jupiter, No. 119, and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad
Caption: "Crossroads of the West"
Joseph F. Menna
2008 46 Oklahoma January 28, 2008
(November 16, 1907)
416,600,000 Oklahoma quarter Scissor-tailed flycatcher (state bird), with Indian blankets (state wildflower) in background Phebe Hemphill
47 New Mexico April 7, 2008
(January 6, 1912)
488,600,000 New Mexico quarter State outline with relief, Zia Sun Symbol from flag
Caption: "Land of Enchantment"
Don Everhart
48 Arizona June 2, 2008
(February 14, 1912)
509,600,000 Arizona quarter Grand Canyon, saguaro closeup.
Banner with text: "Grand Canyon State"
Joseph F. Menna
49 Alaska August 25, 2008
(January 3, 1959)
505,800,000 Alaska quarter Grizzly bear with salmon (state fish) and North Star
Caption: "The Great Land"
Charles L. Vickers
50 Hawaii November 3, 2008
(August 21, 1959)
517,600,000 Hawaii quarter Statue of Kamehameha I with state outline and motto
Caption: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono
Don Everhart

District of Columbia and United States Territories release

Year No. Territory
or District
Release date
(territory date)
Mintage[14] Design Elements depicted Engraver
2009 51 District of Columbia January 26, 2009[18]
(July 16, 1790)
172,400,000 District of Columbia Duke Ellington seated at a grand piano.
Caption: "Duke Ellington" and "Justice for all"
Everhart, DonDon Everhart
52 Puerto Rico March 30, 2009[19]
(December 10, 1898)
139,200,000 Puerto Rico Depicts a historic sentry box at Castillo San Felipe del Morro and a maga flower.[20]
Caption: "Isla del Encanto"
Menna, Joseph F.Joseph F. Menna
53 Guam May 26, 2009[21]
(December 10, 1898)
87,600,000 Guam Depicts the outline of the island, a flying proa, and a latte stone.
Caption: "Guahan I Tanó ManChamorro"
Licaretz, JimJim Licaretz
54 American Samoa July 27, 2009[22]
(April 17, 1900)
82,200,000 American Samoa Depicts the ava bowl, whisk and staff in the foreground with a coconut tree on the shore in the background.
Caption: "Samoa Muamua le Atua"
Vickers, Charles L.Charles L. Vickers
55 U.S. Virgin Islands September 28, 2009[23]
(March 31, 1917)
82,000,000 U.S. Virgin Islands Features an outline of the three major islands, the yellow breast or banana quit, the yellow cedar or yellow elder, and a tyre palm tree.
Caption: "United in Pride and Hope"
Menna, Joseph F.Joseph F. Menna
56 Northern Mariana Islands November 30, 2009[24]
(March 24, 1976)
72,800,000 Northern Mariana Islands Near the shore stands a large limestone latte, a canoe of the indigenous Carolinians, two white fairy tern birds, and a Carolinian mwar borders the bottom. Hemphill, PhebePhebe Hemphill

Additional notes on individual designs

  • Alabama: The Alabama state quarter is the first coin circulated in the U.S. that features Braille writing.
  • Arizona: The banner reading "Grand Canyon State" in the design is intended to split the quarter into two sections and indicate the Grand Canyon and the saguaro cactus are in two different Arizona scenes, as the saguaro cactus is not native to the area near the Grand Canyon.[25]
  • Connecticut: The Charter Oak on the back of the Connecticut quarter fell during a storm on August 21, 1856. It also appears on a 1936 half dollar commemorating the 300th anniversary of the state's settlement by Europeans.[26]
  • District of Columbia: The Duke Ellington design marks the first major portrayal of an African American on circulating US Currency.[27]
  • Georgia: The outline of the state of Georgia on the quarter appears to have accidentally left out Dade County, which is in the extreme northwestern part of the state. In 1860 Dade residents voted to secede from the United States, and from the state of Georgia. The county's secession was never legally recognized, and Dade residents chose to "rejoin" the United States in 1945.[28]
  • Hawaii: The Hawaii quarter features a rendition of the statue of Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810, with the state outline and motto. This is the first business strike U.S. coin to feature royalty or a monarch of any kind.
  • Illinois: The Illinois quarter is the only quarter to directly reference and portray an urban city, with a picture of the Chicago skyline. (The Missouri quarter indirectly references the city of St. Louis with its portrayal of the iconic Gateway Arch.)
  • Indiana: The Indiana quarter—having a problem similar to Georgia's quarter—is missing part of its northwestern corner. Lake County is either partially or completely missing (where it borders with Lake Michigan). The error did not garner considerable notice.
  • Iowa: When Iowans were debating the design for its state quarter in 2002, there was a grassroots effort to use a design featuring the Sullivan brothers (to honor the five Waterloo siblings who died when the ship they were aboard—the USS Juneau (CL-52)—sank during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 1942). The effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and a Grant Wood design was used, but not before some copyright issues were resolved.[29][30]
  • Maryland: The Maryland Statehouse featured on the coin is the country's largest wooden dome built without nails.[31] Some residents complained that the quarter did not feature the state's famous blue crab.
  • Mississippi: The magnolia-blossom design, while recognizable at the high levels of magnification at which it was presented for review, appears at production scale as an amorphous mass recognizable only when the accompanying state-nickname inscription suggests the image's intended content to the viewer.
  • Missouri: The design contest winner for the Missouri quarter, Paul Jackson, has claimed that the Mint engraver needlessly redesigned Jackson's original submission. The Mint stated that Jackson's design was not coinable, but a private mint later demonstrated that it was. It emerged that Mint engravers may exercise discretion in the final design of U.S. coinage, and the term "design contest" was dropped from solicitations for ideas for later state quarters.[32][33]
  • Nebraska: One of the final concepts for the Nebraska quarter was based on the Ponca leader Standing Bear, who, in a suit brought against the federal government, successfully argued that Native Americans were citizens entitled to rights under the U.S. Constitution.
  • New Hampshire: The Old Man of the Mountain, featured on the back of the New Hampshire quarter, collapsed in 2003.
  • Oregon: Oregon's design features a scene of Crater Lake and Wizard Island. This design was chosen by the Oregon Commemorative Quarter Commission. The Quarter Commission was made up of 18 members, including Governor Ted Kulongoski, State Treasurer Randall Edwards, Columbia Sportswear Chairperson Gert Boyle, numismatist Monte Mensing, and Beaverton High School student Laura Davis, along with state legislators Charles Starr, Joan Dukes, Betsy Johnson, and Betsy Close, among others. The Quarter Commission chose the Crater Lake design from three other finalists: a jumping salmon, the Oregon Trail, and Mount Hood.
  • South Dakota: Although South Dakota has the second highest proportion of American Indians of any state, the South Dakota quarter features three items that are the result of European settlement. These symbols are Mount Rushmore, which is carved into the Black Hills which are seen as sacred by the Lakota, a pheasant (an exotic species), and wheat, which has replaced tens of thousands of square miles of diverse grasslands.
  • Tennessee: There has also been some controversy over the Tennessee quarter. Some sources[34] claim that the details on the instruments depicted on the quarter are inaccurate, such as the number of strings on the guitar and the location of the tubing on the trumpet, although the number of strings on the guitar-like instrument is accurate if the instrument is in fact the Mexican vihuela that influenced the country-and-western music prominent in Nashville culture and business.
    5 strings on the guitar on the Tennessee state quarter.
  • West Virginia: During the submission process for the design of the West Virginia quarter, there was an apparent movement to put the famous Mothman on the final design.[35]
  • Wisconsin: A number of the Wisconsin quarters featured a small mint error: the ear of corn features an extra leaf. Some of the affected coins feature a "low leaf", others feature a "high leaf". All of these "error coins" were minted at the Denver mint. It is unclear whether the error was deliberate or accidental, but the error generated considerable initial interest. Sets of the flawed coins once sold on eBay for up to $2800, although the 2013 edition of R.S. Yeoman's A Guide Book of United States Coins lists considerably lower prices for uncirculated specimens.[36][37]
  • Wyoming: Some Wyoming quarters were released in 2007 with indications of improper quality control. Many persons, upon first seeing the same cowboy outline design used on the state's automobile license plates, have mistakenly believed that the lack of detail is itself a flaw, the result of an incomplete striking. However, evidence of cracks in the die and subsequent hasty repairs have been observed in a few circulation specimens.[citation needed]

Year map

The following map shows the years each state, federal district, or territory is released as a state quarter.
Statehood quarters map 2009.svg
The following table has the quarters grouped by year.
Color Year 1st release 2nd release 3rd release 4th release 5th release 6th release
  1999 Delaware Pennsylvania New Jersey Georgia Connecticut N/A
  2000 Massachusetts Maryland South Carolina New Hampshire Virginia
  2001 New York North Carolina Rhode Island Vermont Kentucky
  2002 Tennessee Ohio Louisiana Indiana Mississippi
  2003 Illinois Alabama Maine Missouri Arkansas
  2004 Michigan Florida Texas Iowa Wisconsin
  2005 California Minnesota Oregon Kansas West Virginia
  2006 Nevada Nebraska Colorado North Dakota South Dakota
  2007 Montana Washington Idaho Wyoming Utah
  2008 Oklahoma New Mexico Arizona Alaska Hawaii
  2009 District of Columbia Puerto Rico Guam American Samoa U.S. Virgin Islands Northern Mariana Islands

Collectible value

In 1997, Congress passed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act, which instructed the creation of the state quarters series to "honor the unique Federal Republic of 50 States that comprise the United States; and to promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the individual states, their history and geography, and the rich diversity of the national heritage...", and to encourage "young people and their families to collect memorable tokens of all of the States for the face value of the coins."[38]

Coin with "In God We Rust" motto

While mintage totals of the various designs vary widely—Virginia quarters are almost twenty times more abundant than Northern Marianas quarters—none of the regular circulating issues are rare enough to become a valuable investment.

There was, however, a measure of collector interest and controversy over die errors in the Wisconsin quarter. Some designs from the Denver mint feature corn without a smaller leaf, others feature a small leaf pointing upwards, and still others have the leaf bending down.[39] A set of all three quarters sold on eBay in February 2005 for $300 and initially saw significant increases, such as $1500 for individual coins, but as of August 2012 PCGS lists the value of MS-62 specimens as approximately $150 each.[citation needed]

Another die cast error ran with the first Delaware quarters. Being the first model of state quarter made, the mint gave it a disproportionate weight causing vending machines to not accept it. The quarter die was quickly fixed. Some Delaware quarters appeared without the last E, thus saying, "THE FIRST STAT".

A major error occurred in 2000 when the reverse die of a Sacagawea dollar was combined with the obverse die of a state quarter on dollar-coin planchets to form what is known as a "mule". Only eleven of these specimens, produced on dollar planchets, escaped from the mint.[40][41][42]

A 2005 Minnesota double die quarter, as well as a 2005 Minnesota quarter with extra trees (another die error), have both triggered numismatic interest. An unusual die break on some 2005 Kansas quarters created a humpback bison.[43] Relatively more common are Kansas quarters bearing the motto "IN GOD WE RUST".[44]

The United States produces proof coinage in circulating base metal and, since 1992, in separately sold sets with the dimes, quarters, and half dollars in silver. For the silver issues, the 1999 set is the most valuable, being the first year of the series and with a relatively small mintage, although prices have significantly decreased since the 50 State Quarters Program ended. The set in base metal, of this or any other year, is worth only a fraction as much. The silver proof sets of later years, while having some intrinsic and collector worth, are also priced far lower. The public is cautioned to research prices before buying advertised state quarter year or proof sets.

In general, the program increased interest in quarter and general coin collecting.[45] Large numbers of ads, quarter products and quarter information were available during the years the program ran. Home Shopping Network, Franklin Mint, and Littleton Coin Company were among the most prominent in ad space.


Since the 50 State Quarters Program was expected to increase public demand for quarters which would be collected and taken out of circulation, the Mint used economic models to estimate the additional seigniorage the program would produce. These estimates established a range of $2.6 billion to $5.1 billion. (At the end of the program, the Mint estimated the actual increase in seigniorage to be $3 billion.) The Mint also estimated the program would earn $110 million in additional numismatic profits. (The final, post-program estimate was $136.2 million.) The Mint used these estimates to support the proposed program, and the legislation enacting the 50 States Quarters program cited these estimates.[4]


  • On May 4, 2005, The Onion ran a satirical news story titled "U.S. Mint Gears Up To Issue Commemorative County Pennies".[46]
  • The Late Night with Conan O'Brien television show aired several segments about fictional satirical designs for new state quarters.[47][48][49][50][51][52]
  • Sculptor Daniel Carr, whose designs were used for the New York and Rhode Island state quarters and whose concept was adapted for the Maine state quarter, has created a series of parody quarters making light of the state quarter concept.[53]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Muoio, Anna. (1999-11-30) "Mint Condition", Fast Company. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  2. David L. Ganz, "The Official Guidebook to America's State Quarters", Random House, 2000.
  3. Healey, Matthew (2007-11-28). "State Quarters Near End of Popular Run". New York Times. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-28. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "50 State Quarters Report: 10 Years of Honoring Our Nation's History and Heritage" (PDF). U.S. Mint. Retrieved 24 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Noles, Jim. A Pocketful of History: Four Hundred Years of America – One State Quarter at a Time (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2009).
  6. Hearing on the U.S. Mint's Commemorative Coin Program before the Subcomm. On Domestic & International Monetary Policy of the House Committee on Banking & Financial Services, 104th. Cong., 1st session (Serial 104–25)(July 12, 1995)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Scott A. Travers (25 November 2008). The Insider's Guide to Coins Values 2009. Random House Publishing Group. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-0-440-24168-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Hildebrand, Carol. (1999-04-24) "The New Realm of the Coin", CIO magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-16
  9. 50-State Quarters: Credit Where Credit Is Due, COINage magazine, December 2005 [1]
  10. "Public Law 104–329, 104th Congress" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "The United States Mint 50 State Quarters Program – Frequently Asked Questions". United States Mint. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-29. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links

Preceded by
Washington quarter
50 State Quarters
Succeeded by
District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarters