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Take the Quarter Challenge
September 12, 2011

Are collectors missing an opportunity to put some coins aside today that will become much more valuable tomorrow?

Could be.

And I am not even writing about gold or silver this morning.

I was checking U.S. Mint coin production figures this morning for 2011 coins struck for circulation.

The America the Beautiful quarters continue to chock up fairly low mintage numbers at roughly 30 million each from Philadelphia and Denver.

This set off bells in my mind.

Perhaps setting aside a few uncirculated rolls if you can find them might not be a bad idea.

I am not aware of anybody doing this. Most collectors interested in new issues buy the proof set or sets and the uncirculated coin sets and call it a day. Some buy the retail priced rolls or small bags that the Mint offers.

The coins in these rolls and sets might be enough to satisfy all future demand for 2011-dated coins. But then again, they might not.

Thirty million is an awfully low quarter mintage figure, especially if we don’t as a hobby preserve many of them as uncirculated rolls from the regular banking system.

If you look at the 1983 quarters you discover that the Philadelphia issue has a mintage of about 674 million while the 1983-D has a mintage of about 618 million.

These should be extremely common – and they are if you do not need an uncirculated one. Because there were no official Mint uncirculated coin sets sold to collectors in 1982 and 1983, there is no stash of old mint sets to raid for uncirculated coins.

The result is the MS-60 1983-P is $16 retail and the 1983-D is $8 in the same condition.

Wouldn’t you like to have a few 40-coin rolls of them stashed away?

A $10 investment in 1983 would be worth 64 times that amount for the 1983-P. That even puts gold in the shade.

And these are not MS-69 or MS-70 beauties but just barely uncirculated MS-60 quarters. Values go higher as you go up the scale toward -70.

But in 1982 and 1983 the hobby had lost the habit of saving uncirculated coins by the roll. The result is relatively few have come down to us and prices compared to other 1980s issues are fairly high.

Even though there are mint sets this year and Mint rolls and bags, it strikes me that an investment in a roll or two of this year’s quarters for face value might just prove to be as lucrative as the 1983 issues.

They are not easy to find at banks. That ought to tell you something, too.

But if you do find some, why not put a roll or two of each design aside?

There is no downside risk if you get them for face value.

You would be doing future generations a service by preserving the coins.

The best part is I know that most people will not take my advice on this. That gives those who do a leg up on the future.

Will you be one of the few to take up this challenge?

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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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