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State Quarters
 

 

The State Quarters series is the largest and most extensive coin program in U.S.
Mint history.  Started in 1999 and ending to 2008, the ambitious 10-year series
honored each of the 50 states on its own unique Quarter.  Five different coins
were struck each year, and the coins were issued in the order in which the states
joined the Union.  The first coin in 1999 was Delaware, which was the first state
to ratify the Constitution, and the 50th and last coin in 2008 was Hawaii, the 50th
state.  Each coin was struck for circulation at both the Philadelphia and Denver
 Mints, but the mintage was limited to only about 10 weeks per coin.  Proofs and
silver editions were also made exclusively for collectors at the San Francisco
Mint.  The obverse of the State Quarters retained the original portrait of George Washington that was introduced in 1932. 

 

Each state selected its own design for the reverse of its State Quarter.  Although
the designs had to be approved by the various bodies that oversee the U.S. Mint
and its coinage, in general the states were free to depict what they considered
to be the best representation of their history and culture.  Some restrictions were
put in place, however, such as no living people and no head-and-shoulders
portraits.  The result was a remarkable mix of designs, from state symbols to state landmarks. 

 

According to the U.S. Mint, at least 160 million people collected the State Quarters, making it the most successful coin program in history.  While many people simply found coins in circulation, serious collectors preferred to own Brilliant Uncirculated
coins that had never been in circulation, as well as certified coins in high grades
and coins that been enhanced with colorizing, gold layering, or holograms. 

 

At the conclusion of the State Quarters program, the U.S. Mint was authorized
to extend the series in 2009 to include the national capital (Washington, D.C.)
and the five United States territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa,
United States Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands).  The same design
criteria were in effect for these coins, but because there were six coins in 2009
instead of five for each of the previous 10 years, the mintage period for each
 coin was limited to only 8-9 weeks.