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Frequently Asked Questions

ABOUT THE UNITED STATES MINT 50 STATE QUARTERS® PROGRAM

What is the 50 State Quarters® Program?

It's a program that honors the individual 50 states that comprise the United States through a series of circulating quarters being issued from 1999 - 2008.

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Why are the quarter designs being changed?

According to Public Law 105-124, "Congress finds that it is appropriate and timely to honor the unique Federal Republic of 50 States that comprise the United States; and to promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the individual states, their history and geography, and the rich diversity of the national heritage…" and to encourage "young people and their families to collect memorable tokens of all of the States for the face value of the coins."

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Who is responsible for making the decision to redesign the quarters?

President Clinton signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act (Public Law 105-124) into law on December 1, 1997.

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Where are the coins being minted?

The circulating commemorative quarters are being produced at the United States Mint at Philadelphia and Denver. The proof versions will be produced at the San Francisco facility.

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Have there been any similar programs in recent history?

The United States Mint produced Bicentennial quarters, half dollars and dollars with special Bicentennial reverse designs in 1975 and 1976.

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Will any circulating commemorative quarters be issued to honor the territories and other possessions of the United States?

Public Law 105-124 provides that "If any additional State is admitted into the Union before the end of the 10-year period . . .the Secretary of the Treasury may issue quarter dollar coins, in accordance with this subsection, with a design which is emblematic of such state during any 1 year of such 10-year period, in addition to the quarter dollar coins issued during such year" in accordance with the authorizing legislation.

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How is this program funded?

The 50 State Quarters® Program is self-supported.

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What is the 50 State Quarters® Program costing U.S. taxpayers?

Nothing. In fact, the U.S. Government is making money on the 50 State Quarters Program. The cost to manufacture a quarter is about 5 cents, providing a profit of approximately 20 cents per coin. United States Mint profits go to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury to help fund U.S. Government operations, reduce the need for new or higher taxes, and reduce the Federal Government's debt. No tax revenues will be used in either the manufacture or the promotion of the state quarters. All costs are funded from the United States Mint's earned revenue.

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How often is the reverse of the coin changing?

Five reverse designs are appearing each year for 10 years.

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THE COIN DESIGN PROCESS

How are the designs being selected? May I submit design ideas (graphics) for the design of the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program?

State Quarter Designs will be selected and approved by the process established by Secretary of the Treasury, in accordance with Public Law 105-124. In this process, governors will be invited to submit design concepts or themes that represent their states. We suggest you contact the office of your state governor about submitting design ideas. Renderings of the various concepts will be reviewed by the United States Mint, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, and the Commission of Fine Arts, and then sent to the Secretary of the Treasury for final review and approval. The Secretary of the Treasury will select between three and five candidate designs which will be forwarded to the state governor's office for final recommendation through a process determined by the governor. Last, the Secretary of the Treasury will give the final approval to the design for each state. See also Design Criteria.

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Have any changes been made on the quarter's traditional inscriptions?

All traditional inscriptions appear on the quarter. The 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act did not affect the statutory requirement that United States coins shall have the inscriptions "In God We Trust", "Liberty," "United States of America," and "E Pluribus Unum," as well as a designation of the value of the coin and the year of minting or issuance. Three of the inscriptions ("United States of America", "E Pluribus Unum" and a designation of the value) are required to be placed on the reverse of each coin.  However, on May 29, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-176, which allows for any inscription or inscriptions required to be on the reverse of the quarter to be repositioned on the obverse of the state quarters. This law was enacted to provide for greater creative flexibility in developing the state designs. See our page on the State Quarter Obverse Design for more information.

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Are there limitations to what can be placed on the coins?

Regarding designs for the quarters' reverse, Public Law 105-124 specifies that "no portrait of a living person shall be included in any design," prohibits any "head and shoulder portrait or bust of any person, living or dead," and gives the Secretary of the Treasury final approval of each design, with the direction that he "shall not select any frivolous or inappropriate design."

Suitable subject matter for design concepts include state landmarks (natural and man-made), landscapes, historically significant buildings, symbols of state resources or industries, official state flora and fauna, state icons (e.g., Texas Lone Star, Wyoming bronco, etc.), and outlines of states. State flags and seals are not considered suitable.

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Are the coins being issued in any type of sequence?

States are honored with a reverse quarter design in the order in which state was admitted into the Union.

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AVAILABILITY

Are the coins being circulated throughout the United States?

The 50 State Quarters® are produced at both the United States Mint at Philadelphia and Denver and distributed by the Federal Reserve through financial institutions throughout the country just as regular circulating coinage.

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How does each state quarter circulate?

Consumers can expect to start receiving state quarters as change when conducting commercial transactions within 2-3 weeks after each state release.

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What year will my state's quarter become available?

State quarters are being issued in sequence, at approximately 10-week intervals beginning in 1999. See our 10-Year Schedule of Quarters for a detailed listing of year-by-year releases.

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Does the United States Mint have production capacity to meet anticipated demand for the circulating commemorative quarters?

The Treasury feasibility study documented that existing capacity, currently planned capital improvements, and developed contingency plans ensure that the United States Mint will have sufficient capacity to meet production requirements even under the highest demand scenarios.

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Is the United States Mint still producing the old "Eagle" quarters?

The only quarters that will be minted between 1999 – 2008 are 50 State Quarters®. However, the "Eagle" quarters will continue to be in circulation.

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Are the state quarters considered legal tender?

Like the "Eagle" quarters, all 50 State Quarters® are considered legal tender to be used in all commercial transactions. They will circulate like the "Eagle" quarters - via commerce.

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Do vending machines accept these quarters?

All machines and venues where quarters are accepted are able to receive the 50 State Quarters®.

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COLLECTING THE 50 STATE QUARTERS®

Are Philadelphia and Denver making all five varieties each year?

The 50 State Quarters® are being produced at both the United States Mint at Philadelphia and Denver and distributed by the Federal Reserve through financial institutions throughout the country.

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Will the public be able to collect the entire set of 50 coins?

A complete set of quarters can be collected from circulation for $12.50 over the 10-year period. The United States Mint also offers many annual collector’s sets that include the 50 State Quarters®. Visit our online catalog for information on these products.

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Is there an educational component to the 50 State Quarters® Program?

Yes.  The United States Mint has worked closely with educational organizations to develop educational materials and an interactive website that enables educators to bring to their classrooms the rich history of the United States Mint and how the 50 State Quarters® Program honors America's union.

 


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Feb 22, 2007
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