The 50 States Quarter Program gave people a reason to look at their
pocket change and provided a series for collectors rich in opportunity.
The 50 quarter dollars honoring each state, along with six
quarters honoring the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, were
struck for circulation between 1999 and 2009 from the Philadelphia and
Denver Mints. Proof issues in 90 percent silver and copper-nickel clad
compositions were struck at the San Francisco Mint.
A complete set of all regularly produced clad issues in Mint State
and Proof consists of 168 coins — all of which can be found for less
than $5 and most of which can be purchased for less than $1. No issue
is singularly rare, but some are more expensive than others.
For circulation-strike Mint State issues, only a few issues trade
for hearty premiums over face value. The 2003-P and 2003-D Illinois
quarters trade for roughly double what the other 2003 issues sell for.
The 2009-P and 2009-D Virgin Islands issues enjoy similar premiums in
the marketplace as does the 2002-D Tennessee issue.
The most expensive regular examples in the series are the five
Proof 1999-S silver quarters, followed by Proof 2001 silver quarters.
Proof 1999 silver quarters can trade at the $25 level and the 2001
issues at the $10 level. Common Proof 2000 silver issues can be easily
found for around $6. Starting in 2003, the U.S. Mint struck five-coin
sets of Proof silver quarters, which served to increase mintages and
decrease the rarity of these issues from 2003 onward.
The only real keys of the series are the well-known 2004-D
Wisconsin Extra Leaf High and Low variants.
These feature a curious extra leaf, often described as a die
gouge, on the ear of corn on the reverse. Examples of both types in
circulated condition can regularly be found in online auctions for
less than $100 and occasionally Coin World readers report finding an
example in change.
On Oct. 14, an Extra Leaf Low example certified Mint State 64 sold
for just $100 in an online auction. In contrast, an Extra Leaf High
example in MS-64 typically may realize around $200 when offered at auction.
The most expensive issues in the State Quarter Program at auction
are driven by collectors trying to build winning collections in
grading service registry sets.
A 1999-S Delaware silver quarter graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by
Professional Coin Grading Service realized a strong $17,250 in a 2007
However, as more examples were certified by PCGS in this perfect
grade, the rarity declined along with prices. Another similarly graded
example offered by Heritage on Dec. 9, 2011, sold for $2,107.95. The
2011 result still represents a strong price when one sees that Proof
69 Deep Cameo pieces bring around $30. ■