Treasure in Collecting Coins: The First Five State Quarters 1999

coin collecting

1999 State Quarters

The United States Mint launched its 50 State Quarters Program in 1999 with the issuing of the first five State Quarters of the series. The 10 year program ended in 2008, but not before inspiring many people to enter the hobby of coin collecting and revitalizing their appeal.

Five different coins were minted each year honoring and featuring images of the fifty states. The quarters share a unique perspective of each state’s history. Much like the production of the Bicentennial coins in 1976, these quarters soon became collected in earnest. They created an excited awareness for America’s coinage.

Delaware State Quarter

The coins were released in the order in which the states were admitted into the Union. On December 7, 1787, Delaware adopted the U.S. Constitution and became the first state of America. Delaware was then the first coin of the U.S. Mint state series to be released into circulation on January 4, 1999.

All State quarters share the same portrait of George Washington on the obverse. The mintmark and inscriptions of United States of America, In God We Trust, Liberty, and Quarter Dollar are displayed on the front of the coin also.

The reverse reveals the differing state designs. The Delaware State Quarter features Caesar Rodney and his historic horseback ride to Philadelphia in 1776. He arrived just in time to cast the deciding vote in favor of America’s Independence.

Pennsylvania State Quarter

The Pennsylvania State Quarter features the statue of Commonwealth which can be seen on the state’s capitol building in Harrisburg. She (Commonwealth) stands in front of an outline of the state, with the words Virtue, Liberty, and Independence beside her. On her other side is a keystone honoring the nickname for Pennsylvania; The Keystone State.

New Jersey State Quarter

Collectors who take time to research the importance of the images found on the State quarters will learn a lot about the history of the nation. New Jersey’s State Quarter features George Washington crossing the Delaware. The depiction is based on an 1851 painting by Emmanuel Leutze entitled Washington Crossing the Delaware. This event was one of the most significant movements for the Revolutionary War. Washington, after crossing the Delaware in 1776, would lead his army to future victories which were vital for the successful outcome of the war.

Georgia State Quarter

Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation stream across the Georgia State Quarter. This state motto waves across an outline of the state with a peach featured in the center. The state tree of Georgia is honored by the appearance of Live Oak branches along the sides of the coin.

Connecticut State Quarter

Researching the meaning and significance behind the scene of the Connecticut State Quarter reveals the following remarkable tale. Early colonists and the British were gathered together on Halloween night in 1687 discussing the charter which proved Connecticut’s independence. Anticipating the British to steal the all important charter for the country, Captain Joseph Wadsforth decided to act first. The story goes that the candles were blown out and when re-lighted the charter was gone.

In order to keep the charter safe, Wadsforth is said to have hid it in a large white oak. It is the portrayal of this particular tree which is prominently displayed and honored on Connecticut’s quarter. Beside the renowned tree are the words “The Charter Oak” to the left.

The success and popularity of the program encouraged the U.S. Mint to continue minting commemorative coins. The District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program would immediately follow the 50 State Quarters Program with its release of six coins in 2009. Presidential Dollar coins and America the Beautiful quarters are other programs the U.S. Mint initiated.

Coin enthusiasts are enjoying the opportunity to assemble collections straight from pocket change. For the more serious or investment collectors, the option to purchase coins directly from the mint, dealers or other methods are available.

However, the hunting and gathering of coins in everyday transactions has greatly expanded over the years. The sense of deep appreciation for the nation’s history, geography, and values can be experienced by all Americans. They need only to explore the images found on the coins passing through their hands.

The 1999 State Quarters were the first five coins which launched a new enthusiasm towards coin collecting.


Best of luck with all that you seek and Treasure the Adventure!

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24 Responses

  1. 5-leaf blaze says:

    Very cool, Jenny! I have a Delaware quarter with no visible copper showing in the edge, and in extremely good condition. It doesn’t seem light enough to have been struck on a nickle planchet. Maybe about 2/10’s gram lighter.

    • Chesney says:

      It most likely has an “S” mintmark, was part of a 90 percent Silver Proof or Mint set! Nice find!!! 🙂

    • gnomey says:

      I struck out twice with A CO quarter in the shade of gold. I wasn’t sure it was worth it’s value. It was, it just needed to be polished. I left it by the lake where it regretefully sits today. TERRIBLE JUDGEMENT!

      • Chesney says:

        Oh my, you could go back and get it… right?

        • gnomey says:

          I could. But I wouldn’t want it to wait for me. Sometimes coins, items, or people need new “homes” They will gravitate toward that new place, but only when destiny feels right. I dont think I am going to find any of those quarters today but maybe there will be a better one waiting in the mud soon. Maybe we, me and the coin both, are looking for new homes

    • pdenver says:

      Hello 5-leaf blaze. I remember such quarters and how the soda machines wouldn’t accept them because of the lighter weight. I’ve heard/read different stories about their values.

  2. pdenver says:

    Hello Jenny. Great post. My family have collected all the state quarters since it began and we continue to collect the other coins. With the changing of the image of the $10 bill, one may want to invest in collecting the originals.

  3. Strawshadow says:

    I hope your interpretation is incorrect. There are a many ways to interpret the written word, especially when we are consumed by a wordsmith such as Mr. Fenn. I know I have had to rethink anything and everything over the past few years. It has troubled me deeply that what I believed to be true in many cases wasn’t. One could even stretch this to a lake in Switzerland, which probably isn’t the case. Know me, gnome y, no me, nome e, gee no me, etc is intriguing and curious from many aspects. I will pray along with you, just in case my interpretation is incorrect.

    • Strawshadow says:

      I should also add, I do believe this is about change. I still have the first 2006 Nevada two bit coin that I happened to come across, it’s significance to me goes way beyond its monetary worth.

      • Chesney says:

        I have found some pretty awesome coins from other countries, which were passed in US circulation as nickels or dimes. Not sure what they are worth, but they halted into my collection! 🙂

  4. Chesney says:

    The ten is supposed to keep Hamilton on it, the twenty is going to portray Harriet Tubman, not Andrew Jackson.

  5. 5-leaf blaze says:

    I really like the state series, and now the parks, yay! Mine Delaware may be a “missing (middle) clad” weighing under the normal 6.25g for silver, and under the 5.75 for today’s clad quarters. It has a Denver mintmark and weighs about 5.6g. I found that and a Sac 2000 d “experimental rinse” dollar when I worked the register. 🙂

  6. Tammy Bear says:

    Hi, I just acquired a Commemorative State Quarters of 1999 Saver that was issued from am bank. A person gave these to me to pay for a 5.00 yard sale item. There are 20 coins total. 4 Delaware. 4 New Jersey, 4 Georgia, 4 Pennsylvania, 4 Connecticut. They are all in these little slots. I don’t know anything about coin collecting but if this is worth more than 5.00 I want to give the difference back to the person that bought the item. Can anyone please tell me the value of this set? I would appreciate it. It is as described as the article above. Thank you

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