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No Wonder They're Hard to Get
March 23, 2009

No wonder it is hard to find District of Columbia quarters. The final mintage figures for the first of the six designs of 2009 are well below the lowest mintages for the state quarter program.

A total of 172,400,000 Duke Ellington quarters were struck. The Philadelphia Mint total is 83,600,000 and the Denver Mint total is 88,800,000.

This is less than half the production total for the lowest mintages for state quarters.

The Denver output for the 2008 Oklahoma quarter was 194,600,000. The Philadelphia output for the 2004 Iowa quarter was 213,800,000 pieces. The P-mint 2002 Ohio output was 217,400,000 and the P-Mint Maine output in 2003 was 217,400,000.

Oklahoma's quarter also had the lowest two-mint total of 416,600,000.

I cannot call 172 million D.C. coins scarce, exactly, but when coupled with the phenomenon of a backed-up banking system, it is no wonder so few people are seeing the new coins in their change and why all collectors are finding it so hard to get a roll or two in the regular way from their local banks.

Even more interesting, the Puerto Rico quarter is next to be released and its final mintage is even lower than the D.C. mintage.

Only a combined 139,000,000 were coined for Puerto Rico. Once again Philadelphia's output was the lower of the two mints at 53,000,000 as compared to Denver's 86,000,000.

It would appear that many more collectors than usual will find themselves dependent upon the collector sets and other offerings from the U.S. Mint to get any examples at all for their collections.

Puerto Rican bags and rolls will be put on sale on the Mint Web site on March 30.

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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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