By Matt Draiss
Every single day, millions of Americans spend money and get change back. Do you ever stop to look at what winds up in your change? The quarters you get back on a regular basis most likely contain State Quarters. State Quarters are beautifully designed coins representing each one of our fifty states, but that is about all they serve a good purpose for. Many people have put together sets of these coins and have invested money into them, but these coins have proved to be a bad investment overall.
The U.S Mint started producing State Quarters in 1999 and minted them through 2008. Every single state was represented with a quarter that depicted an image somehow related to that area. These coins sparked a huge interest in coin collecting and helped contribute greatly to the numismatic hobby. Million of people have enjoyed collecting these coins (minted in Denver and Philadelphia) and placing them into coin folders. A lot of people invested or spent money on these coins at coin shows, online, at coin shops, and from mail order companies.
Advantages of the State Quarter series:
- The thrill of the hunt trying to find these coins.
- Many hours of fun placing the coins into the holders with family and friends or just by yourself.
- A great collection of artwork related to our fifty states.
- A series of coins that has gotten millions of people interested in collecting rare coins.
- A lot of money was invested or spent on BU (Brilliant Uncirculated rolls), mint sets, proof sets, and sets already placed into coin holders that will never be recovered.
- These coins will not go up in value for a long time(most likely decades in my opinion).
- A very large number of these quarters were minted, so in my opinion they will not up in value a great deal.
The State Quarter program is one of the best things to have happened to the business that I enjoy the most: collecting; however, the sets that people purchased many years ago have gone down in value significantly. Sets that at one time traded for over $300 are now trading at around $100. For example, a coin set that contained five coins struck in 90% silver graded as Proof-70 Deep Came(coins that are made in perfect condition) sold in one of our auctions for $160 in 2006 and a set of the same coins sold again for $110 5 years later.
- State Quarters were struck in a regular clad composition for circulation and also in 90% silver for special collector sets.
- The clad state quarters are worth only face value except for ones still in BU rolls and mint sets(it can be hard to find a coin buyer for the BU rolls).
- Clad and silver coins in Mint-issued proof sets and mint sets are worth minimal amounts except for the 1999 silver proof set which trades for approximately $100.
- Coin dealers generally want to purchase only the proof sets, mint sets, and better date BU rolls.
- Coin dealers usually have no interest in buying sets made from folders by the general public, single coins in uncirculated condition, and single proof coins(except for the silver proofs).
The above are just a couple examples of why State Quarters are not a good investment; however, you should still enjoy the thrills of collecting coins. I had a State Quarter book and it has turned into a career in rare coins. I encourage you to go online or to your local coin shop and purchase a coin folder. This series has offered a great escape for many people.
Matt Draiss is a numismatic intern with Heritage Auctions. He is also a numismatic speaker and writer.
If you have old coins or currency that you would like evaluated at no charge, please contact Heritage today.
Check out Heritage’s FREE coin price guide for quick answers on what your item could be worth.
If you see something you like or have something similar you'd like to sell then please inquire about it here.