United States Mint Launches Second Half Of 50 State Quarters Program
The 50 State Quarters Program, a 10-year initiative (1999-2008) commemorating each of the 50 United States in the order they ratified the Constitution or were admitted into the Union, reached a halfway point in October of 2003.
Under the program, U.S. quarter-dollar designs change five times each year. More than 21 billion state quarters have been minted since 1999. The Delaware quarter was the first one minted. In October 2003, the Arkansas quarter became the 25th quarter launched into circulation. The Michigan quarter was introduced on January 26, 2004.
“The 50 State Quarters Program has proved a great success in America, and I am pleased to see we are at our halfway mark for 50 minted coins,” said Delaware Congressman Michael Castle, who authored the legislation that launched the program. “In the United States Mint’s history, this coin program is the most popular with over 130 million Americans collecting the state quarters. It is educational, fun and makes money–four billion dollars to date to be exact. Now that is the sign of a successful government program, one that actually makes money. With 26 quarters issued and 24 more to go, these coins are integral to the history of our country and educating children and tourists about the American way of life.”
In Fiscal Year 2003, the United States Mint contributed $585 million to the United States Treasury. It is estimated that the 50 State Quarters Program has contributed about four billion dollars to the Treasury since 1999, through seigniorage and profits from the sale of products for collectors.
The quarters have also served as teaching tools. Over the last two years, millions of lesson plans have been downloaded free from the United States Mint website for use in classrooms.
Although each quarter is unique, the United States Mint has noted recurring themes that reflect what it is to be an American. The Delaware, New York and New Jersey quarters depict the great themes of independence and liberty. The Arkansas and Vermont quarters celebrate the richness of the land, and the Ohio and North Carolina quarters reflect our spirit of discovery.
Created by Congress in 1792, the United States Mint is the manufacturer of legal tender coinage for the Nation, the circulating coins in Americans’ pockets. The United States Mint also produces and sells proof, uncirculated, and precious metal coins — along with commemorative coins and medals — to collectors, investors and the general public.