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Shakespeare Might Have Right Word
March 01, 2010

The other day the promotions department asked me to look at a direct mail letter.

In it they said they were going to be giving away state and National Parks quarters.

“Is there a more general term that could be used to encompass both types of quarters? Would ‘commemorative quarters’ be correct, or is there a better term?”

Naturally, I put my editor’s hat on and ended up writing a long reply.

“I don’t see anything wrong with calling them state and park quarters, but officially there is no such thing as a national park quarter. They are America the Beautiful quarters because national forests and seashores are part of the program. By the way, these quarters won’t be released until the end of April, so I hope we aren’t putting ourselves in a jam.

“Commemorative” alone is not wrong, but in collector argot it usually means a special issue, not something that circulates, so it rings wrong in the collector ear.

“You could probably call them circulating commemorative quarters, but that probably doesn’t have the punch you want.”

Now you have probably read more than you want to know about my communications with the Numismatic News promotions department.

So just what is a short and punchy term for the circulating commemoratives that we have been seeing since the state quarter program began in 1999?

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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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