The Fifty States Quarter Program. This is where it all started. Advanced numismatists and novice coin collectors like know what this set is all about. The 50 State Quarters Program was first put into place in 1997, and it began with the release of a very special series of circulating commemorative coins by the United States Mint itself. From 1999 through 2008, it featured each one of the 50 U.S. states on unique designs for the reverse of the quarter, with the standard bust of President George Washington on the front of the quarter. Most of us that are on any level of coin collecting enthusiasm have at least one set of these quarters, but not all of us know some of the more intricate details about these quarters.
For a little bit of history on the program, the 50 State Quarters Program was initially started to support a new generation of coin collectors, (millennials mostly) and it became without a doubt the single most successful numismatic program in the history of the U.S. Mint, with roughly about a good one half of the U.S. population collecting the coins. Some collected them in a rather casual, offhand, manner. Others collected them as a serious pursuit and were diligent about it. The U.S. federal government so far has made additional profits of a whopping $3.0 billion from collectors taking the coins out of circulation, causing such collectors to actually have to pay the government simply to produce more of these coins.
The District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Program
This program was so successful that the Mint decided to extend it. In the year of 2009, the U.S. Mint began issuing quarters under the original 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Program. This program took the idea of making special quarters a step further by legislating the minting of quarters featuring District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Completing the Trifecta: the National Park Quarters
The U.S. Mint wasn’t done yet. The State quarters had been a huge success. The Territories quarters had been a success. The next step had to be to now do the National Parks, and this is where the famous Hawaiian quarter comes into play.
The way the Mint approached the National Park quarters was this: National Park Quarters with rotating reverse designs of the Parks themselves initially started entering U.S. circulation in the year 2010, and the idea is that they will continue through to 2021. Each year will feature five new designs, and by the time 2021 rolls around, all national parks will have been represented.
As coin collectors, we always have our eyes out for error coins. Now, while the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park coin is not technically an error coin, (see definition of an error coin), Hawaiian residents would certainly say that it was.
- (Direct from the Coin News definition: “An error coin is a coin that was manufactured incorrectly by a mint. Many times called mint errors, error coins come in scores of ‘shapes, sizes and types.’ The sheer variety of minted errors adds excitement and uniqueness in collecting them.”)
The issue with the Hawaiian coin is that the Mint did not use the correct punctuation on the words on the coin. Apparently, the Hawaiian language uses some punctuation symbols that those of us mainlanders are none too familiar with. The error caused a small uproar in the Hawaiian community for a little while, but now the hope is that the error will simply create more interest in the coin and raise its value somewhat.
Regardless of whether one is interested in this coin for the error or just to collect it, it is fun and easy to collect the 2012 D Parks Quarters, the Territory Quarters, and the State Quarters too.