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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

You may wonder what the title means, particularly if you have yet to visit Orlando, Florida. Why on earth would anyone want to collect quarter coins you may well ask?

Well, I don’t mean the common or garden bog standard quarters, but the fascinating commemorative quarters that are to be found alongside these more mundane coins.

Our introduction to coin collecting began way back in 1999, on our first visit to Florida, when our son was just 9 years old. Everything was exciting and new and we just soaked it all up. We soon discovered that not all quarters were the same. Of course there were the well known ones with the American bald eagle on the front, but it soon became apparent that there were a few quarters with designs commemorating some of the states of America on them. So began his collection of quarter coins, and over the years he has added to them until he has quite a sizeable collection. It was a great way for him to learn the names of some of the states, and in the process he learned a little about the history and traditions of the many parts of America.

In fact, the ‘50 States Quarters Programme’ started in 1999, with each of the 50 individual US states featured on the reverse of a commemorative quarter coin, with a unique design. These commemorative quarters were released a few at a time each year, and the final ones will be released by 2008, and will include the District of Columbia (the DC in Washington DC) plus the nation’s five territories. They have proved to be the most successful numismatic programme in history, with about half the US population (plus us! ) collecting the coins. The US federal government have actually made a profit of $3. 8 billion as a result of people taking the coins out of circulation.

What started as just another collection has become an obsession. Every time we are handed quarters in our change we scan it, in case we have a newly released coin, or one we had missed previously. We try to find new ones which are still shiny and unmarked, but some of the older ones are slightly more well-worn. They provide a fascinating insight into the American states, as there are pictures which represent either the history, traditions of symbols on the coins, together with a motto. The problem comes when we use the toll roads and need quarters. Then begins the process of sifting through all our coins to ensure that we don’t inadvertently use a quarter which we haven’t already got in our collection.

So if you are behind a car at the toll booth and they seem to be taking a long time, it may well be us, sifting through all our small change.

Who knows, you might even get hooked on this particular form of numismatism!

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Page added on: 8 February 2008
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