Dr. Sol Taylor

National Parks to Follow 50+6 State Quarters

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
Saturday, February 21, 2009

ith the release of the first quarter in 1999, the 50-state quarter collector series ended when the Hawai'i quarter was released in 2008.
    In 2009, six additional quarters are being issued. It's officially known as "The 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program." The six coins will be issued during 2009 in the usual formats — circulation strikes in quantities similar to those of the 50-state quarters and proof sets in clad composition and silver.
    These last two sets can be ordered directly from the U.S. Mint; visit www.usmint.gov on the Internet.
    The series will include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The designs will be featured in Mint press releases. The D.C. quarter features famed musician Duke Ellington.
    Due to the success of the 50-state quarters program as determined by the sale of special albums for all 100 coins (P and D mint) as well as proof-set sales of the same issues, the Mint expects strong interest in the six-coin series.
    Many school teachers have used — and still are using — the 50 state quarters as learning tools in history and geography. Several publishers have printed coin boards in the format of a map of the United States with holes for the 50 different designs. Unlike regular coin albums, the mintmark (P or D) is not relevant in these classroom displays.
    Starting in 2010, another Mint program known as "America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008" will begin.
    The actual number of different coins has not been announced, but at this time there are 56 national park jurisdictions, and the selected sites have yet to be named. The first national park, Yellowstone, would probably head the series in 2010.
    Since President Theodore Roosevelt led the movement for national parks, it might be appropriate to replace George Washington with Theodore Roosevelt on the obverse of this new series.
    Like the 50-state quarters program, this also will be a multiyear program.
    Although some have touted the state-quarter series for investment potential, the extremely high mintage figures don't point in that direction.
    Many dealers still offer each of the coins in the series in Brilliant Uncirculated rolls and even in 10-roll lots. They have strong collector and educational value. They may eventually inspire some to become collectors of more valued American coins and become familiar with such features as grading, certification, coin auctions, numismatic literature, and numismatic clubs and organizations such as the American Numismatic Association.
    Filling the holes in the coin boards of these new series, as I did in the 1930s, may motivate some collectors to move onward in the field, as I have.