Treasure in Collecting Coins: The First Five State Quarters 1999
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.
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