2008 Statehood Quarter Designs
The final five designs in the popular State Quarters series were announced yesterday by the United States Mint.
The new coins will be minted and issued in 10-week intervals throughout 2008 with designs honoring Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii. These coins wrap up the series that began in 1999 with a quarter honoring Delaware. Surveys by the Mint have found that nearly half of all Americans collect the state quarters, either in casual accumulations or as a serious numismatic pursuit.
The director of the Mint, Edmund C. Moy, called the series a “remarkable success.”
“They have educated a whole generation on geography and history,” Mr. Moy said.
A total of 31.2 billion quarters with the various statehood designs were made through the end of 2006, he said. That is about 20 billion more than would have been made normally, he said, and the surplus translates to a government profit, or seigniorage, of $3.8 billion as a result of collectors’ taking the state quarters out of circulation.
Jay Johnson was director of the Mint in 2000 and 2001 in the early days of the program. He now works for a private company, the Franklin Mint, as its chief numismatist, supervising the production of what he calls “enhanced” versions of the official coins by colorizing them or gold-plating them. He predicted that public interest in the state quarters would surge in the coming year. In other countries with long-running series of coins, he said, interest is usually strongest in the first and final years, as collectors realize their sets can now be completed.
But the series may get an extra breath of life. A bill to issue six more coins in 2009, honoring the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands has been approved by the House of Representatives and is now awaiting action in the Senate banking committee.
(via NY Times)