Monday, May 31, 2010

US Quarters


It has been 10 years since we have seen a regular release (minted) US quarter. The kind like this with George Washington on the front and an Eagle on the back. The kind of quarter you don't bother to look at and admire the design, because you know what it looks like. You might check out the front just to see what year the thing was minted. Sometimes it's fun to see a coin with the year you were born on it, or some other special year for you.

1965 Quarter front

Front and back of Regular US Quarters (1932-1998)

The George Washington Eagle Quarter went mostly unchanged from 1932 to 1998. The profile of Washington went through a couple of slight modifications once or twice over the years, but they were subtle and only coin collectors really cared that much to notice. The eagle on the back has also gone pretty much unchanged. In 1976 for the Bicentennial the US Mint made special Bicentennial Quarters. The special commemorative quarters still had George Washington profile on the front with the years 1776-1976 underneath in the regular spot for the year of mintage. The back had the portrait of a colonial drummer. Then in 1977 they returned to the standard George with the Eagle back.

This regular familiar design was interrupted in 1999 when the US Mint started their 50 States Quarters Program. Each year from 1999 - 2008 they minted a different design for each of the 50 states. They released 5 different state quarters each year in order of when that state joined the republic of the United States.

Front of US State Quarters (1999-2008)

The Front has similar George Washington Portrait as the old quarters, but the writing on the front was majorly changed. United States of America was brought to the front, the word Liberty was moved down from the top to the side and made smaller. The words Quarter Dollar was also brought from the back to the front.

Back of Delaware State Quarter 1999

The backs were each unique and distinct for each individual state. The state name along with the year the state joined the United States and the year of mintage were put on the back. More details and all the designs can be seen here:

OK so now it's been 10 years since we've seen an eagle on the back of a quarter. Sure there are still tons of these coins in circulation, but new ones have not been produced since 1998. Sometime during the 10 years of the States Quarters Program people seeing the schedule for the coins started wondering if or when they would produce a quarter for the Nations Capital Washington DC. Technically not a state DC was not included in the States program. This past year 2009 the US Mint released a Washington DC quarter in their six quarter District of Columbia and U.S. Territories quarters. The quarter for the territory of The Northern Mariana Islands by the way is the most difficult one to find as they minted very few of those and the distribution of them was more limited than the other designs of the Territories coins. To see the list and links to their designs visit

NOW the US Mint has started a New Quarter Program. This is another 10+ Year Program. Called "America The Beautiful" this program features designs with US National Parks. The coin fronts will still have the familiar 1932 George Washington Portrait on the front, with the Park design on the back. The release schedule seems to be when the park was designated a National Park. This program starts this year 2010 and will end 2021. There are 56 quarters in this set. Each year they will release 5 quarters with a design of a State Park. There is already a generation of kids who haven't seen the regular design as a NEW quarter. By the time the Parks series is finished those kids will probably barely recognize the regular design. This will be a large set for collectors to acquire. It also means it will be at least the year 2022 before we see a REGULAR QUARTER ever again.

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