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Ahr You Coming?
May 05, 2011

I received a Bicentennial quarter in my change yesterday when I paid for my lunch at the Crystal Cafe.

These quarters are not unknown in circulation, but they are not encountered often. I make a point of getting this design back into circulation when I can.

It’s an old habit that long pre-dates the state quarters. With so many state designs in circulation nowadays, few probably notice the drummer design on the reverse of the 1776-1976 quarter.

It was designed by Jack L. Ahr, who won a competition run by the Mint to select designs for the Bicentennial quarter, half dollar and dollar.

Ahr’s was the most popular with collectors.

After the Bicentennial, Ahr fell off the radar screens of hobbyists.

He returned to mine April 30 at the Central States Numismatic Society convention when Iola, Wis., dealer Kurt Krueger came over to me at the bourse floor’s lunch area to tell me he might have some news and invited me to come to his table after I finished my pizza.

This I did.

Kurt said Ahr had just visited his table. His name tag prompted Kurt to ask the man if he was the same Ahr who had designed the quarter.

The man admitted he was.

Kurt told him the American Numismatic Association convention will return to the same facility in August and he suggested Ahr come back and let the attendees there know who he is.

Ahr was very low key and it is anybody’s guess whether he will want to step back into the numismatic limelight.

He might, but we won’t know for sure until August. I can’t wait to find out.

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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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