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Are 'S' quarter mintages really that low?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “What’s old is new again”?

I thought of that the other day when I received a phone call from a collector who asked me if the new “S” mint uncirculated quarters that the U.S. Mint is selling to collectors are really as rare as they are.

He was excited by the idea of “S” mint quarters with mintages at around the million mark.

I confirmed that this was in fact the case.

He was familiar with the "Mint Statistics" presentation that I prepare each week for both Numismatic News and online, but he did not say where he was reading them, or when he started.

After I hung up the phone I was asking myself where he was in the final half of last year as these coins went on sale one by one.

I was helpfully providing a running tally of individual “S” mint quarters sold. Since the first five designs passed the million mark I cut way back on doing this and I have let the roll and bag figures speak for themselves.

I had figured that by now these numbers had become old hat.

Apparently not.

It is nice to know that the mintage levels are intriguing at least one collector. That usually means there are many more out there who thinking the same thing.

Because this is the second year of the “S” uncirculated quarter program, experience tells me the novelty has gone and demand will decline.

How dramatic the decline will be is the question.

If a million quarter mintage is exciting now, perhaps more collectors will get excited when the total drops below that nice round number.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."