Coin Collecting - State Quarters

Images on this page are grouped by the year of release (starting with 1999). The information includes the State name, name of the artist/engraver, date of release, and number of coins minted.

The State Quarter program was created by an Act of Congress and signed into law on December 1, 1997, by then President Bill Clinton. During the program, which began in January of 1999, five new designs were released each year, approximately two to three months apart. The order in which the coins were released followed the order in which the States had joined the Union.

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The decade-long program concluded in 2008. There were fifty designs altogether (one for each State) and, since they were produced at two mints for general circulation (Philadelphia and Denver), there are 100 coins that coin collectors must obtain if they wish to have a complete series. This does not include mint sets intended specifically for collectors and produced in San Francisco. Mint marks are located on the obverse side, just to the right of the bow in Washington's wig.

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Regarding the reverse side of the coin, all State Quarters had the following design characters in common: the name of the State and year it joined the United States follow the upper rim, and the date (year minted) and motto "E pluribus Unum" follow the lower rim (a particularly apt motto for this location since it references the many diverse States together forming a single, unified country). The remaining field was left for the unique State design and whatever legends or mottos would be associated with it.

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The enabling legislation specified that the design should have broad appeal to the citizens of that State and avoid controversial subjects or symbols. State Flags and State Seals were not considered suitable, but State landmarks, historic buildings, indigenous flora and fauna, an outline of the State, and State icons (such as the Texas Lone Star) were all regarded as acceptable design elements. Logos or symbols depicting specific organizations or entities were also prohibited if their ownership or membership was not universal.

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The Governor of each State had the responsibility to establish a design selection process and was allowed to submit three to five design concepts to the Federal Government. The U.S. Mint would turn those concepts into tangible artwork and, upon approval by the Secretary of the Treasury, this would be returned to the State for a final selection.

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The rarest coin in the series is the Oklahoma Quarter (issued in 2008), of which 416.6 million were produced. The most numerous coin is the Virginia Quarter (issued in 2000) with 1.6 billion produced.

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