two undervalued coins in series

Here’s an article I ran across from the December 2003 issue of ACCent, the newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club, by Mike Nourse.

As coin collectors, we are all aware of the success of the state quarter program in terms of getting people to look at their change. Supposedly, 100 million people are ‘collecting’ state quarters, though I suspect that the folks that arrived at that number are using a very loose definition of the word collecting. I personally doubt that any more than 10 million people, mostly kids, are actually making any serious effort to collect all of the state quarters in a map or other inexpensive holder.

However, let’s err on the side of caution and assume that my number is too high as well, by a factor of two, and the actual number of people that are somewhat seriously pursuing a collection of state quarters is only 5 million, or merely one out of every 55 people in the United States. That is still a HUGE number, folks! Go grab your Redbook, and I know that yours is within arms reach right now, and take a look at the mintage figures for a variety of series. You will notice that there are an awful lot of coins listed in that book that have a mintage of under 5 million pieces. We also know that mintage is only half of the story, as what is really important now is how many of those old coins have survived loss and meltings to survive to this day.

What we, as collectors of coins that are no longer in circulation, are interested in is how many of those millions of people will join us in the pursuit of older coins in order to form a collection. It seems logical that many of those potential new collectors may first consider the possibility of continuing their Washington quarter sets going back in time. The first thing they will likely discover is that the composition of our quarters changed from silver to copper nickel clad in 1965, and that quarters may be found in circulation all the way back to that date. It will be quite a challenge to fill in all of those holes in the 1965 to date Whitman folder. Eventually, it is likely that a few of the clad dates will evade our new collector despite their best efforts to fill all those spaces. That is when our new collector may be drawn to a local coin shop or internet coin dealer, and be directly exposed to those old silver coins that will never be found in circulation.

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