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Hoarded Quarters Put to Use
July 09, 2008

More and more of the older state quarters seem to be finding their way into circulation if what I am getting is any guide. I had a beautiful Delaware quarter come my way the other day.

The recession is making people dig into their accumulations to pay daily bills. This is something that could go on for years. It is also something that might break the quarter habit for many people.

If you have been faithfully saving the coins in any quantity and you arrive at nearly the end of the 10-year program to find out that what you have squirreled away is not really worth anything more than face value, the whole hoard might eventually get dumped as money is needed.

Or, it could be something of collector's remorse. If you have been faithfully accumulating rolls of the coins and circumstance forces you to stop, you might just feel frustration and guilt and give the whole effort up.

Either way, if the phenomenon occurs, we could experience lower mintages in future years as these coins clog the banking system, requiring fewer orders for new coins from the Mint.

This could be a little bit like what happened to coin mintages in the 1880s. Numbers were down because all of the silver coins that disappeared from circulation during the inflationary crisis spawned by the Civil War found their way back into circulation after the Resumption Act that went into effect Jan. 1, 1879, made the dollar basically as good as gold after a lapse of almost 18 years.

We'll see.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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