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Denver Coins --> United States Coins --> United State Quarters --> 50 State Quarters

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The 50 State Quarters program (Pub.L. 105-124, 111 Stat. 2534, enacted December 1, 1997) is the release of a series of commemorative coins by the United States Mint. Between 1999 and 2008, it featured each of the 50 individual U.S. states on unique designs for the reverse of the quarter.

In 2009, the U.S. Mint started issuing quarters under the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Program, authorized by the passage of H.R. 2764. This program features the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands. Although commonly mistaken as part of the 50 State Quarters Program, it is a separate program recognized by the U.S. Mint.

The program was conceived as a means of creating a new generation of coin collectors, and in that it succeeded. The 50 State Quarters program became the most successful numismatic program in history, with roughly half of the U.S. population collecting the coins, either in casual manner or as a serious pursuit. The U.S. federal government so far has made a profit of $4.6 billion from collectors taking the coins out of circulation.


The program's origins are with the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, which was appointed by Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen in December 1993. By 1995, the committee had already endorsed a circulating commemorative coin when Congressman Michael Castle called for hearings. Mint director Philip Diehl picks up the commentary: "The idea of a circulating commemorative has been around the hobby for decades, but frankly, good ideas are a dime a dozen. Far more rare is the ability to move an idea to reality, especially in the rough and tumble environment of Washington, D.C. From my vantage point, the lion's share of the credit for making the 50 States program a reality goes to David Ganz, for his persistence as an advocate, and Congressman Michael Castle for championing the proposal through Congress. David gradually persuaded me of the merits of the proposal, and we at the Mint, in turn, convinced Treasury and the Hill that it was doable. There are other claimants, to be sure, but the hobby owes a debt of gratitude to Congressman Castle and Mr. Ganz." The program was first introduced by Rep. Michael Castle in 1997 as H.R. 2414 but only passed in the House. Sen. John Chafee introduced S. 1228 three days after HR 2414 passed the House. S. 1228 passed in the Senate on November 9, 1997 and the House on November 13, 1997. President Bill Clinton signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act into law on December 1, 1997. The first state quarter, which featured Delaware, was released into circulation in 1999.

State of ColoradoThe state quarter program

During the program, a new statehood quarter was released by the United States Mint every quintile, or 1/5th of a year (73 days, or ten weeks), meaning that five designs were released each year. Each quarter's reverse celebrated one of the 50 states with a design honoring its unique history, traditions and symbols, usually designed by a resident of that state and chosen by the state government.

The quarters are released in the same order that the states joined the Union. The obverse of each quarter is a slight redesign of the previous design of the quarter.

The statehood quarters program has become one of the most popular commemorative coin programs in United States history; the United States Mint has estimated that over one hundred million individuals have collected state quarters, either formally or informally.

By the end of 2008, all of the original 50 states quarters had been minted and released. The official total, according to the U.S. Mint, was 34,797,600,000 coins. The average per state design was 695,952,000 coins, but ranged all the way from Virginia's 1,594,616,000 to Oklahoma's 416,600,000, a difference by a factor of about 3.83. The average was skewed higher by a few states with very large mintage numbers, while the median state had a total of 580,500,000 coins. Only two states had a very close number of minted coins, Missouri and Wisconsin each with about 453,200,000 coins.

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