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Guam the scarce one now

After just a few week’s as the lowest mintage 2009 quarter dollar, the Philadelphia Puerto Rico design has been given the boot.

The new holder of the low-mintage title for the year is the Denver Guam quarter. The total mintage has fallen to just 42.6 million pieces, as compared to the 53.2 million for the Philadelphia Puerto Rico issue.

Even the Philadelphia Guam came in below the low-mintage Puerto Rico quarter. There are 45 million of these.

At the rate production is declining, we could be talking of quarter designs that number from 10 million or 20 million pieces by year end.

This potential outcome hinges on coin demand in the nation’s banking system. If there is an uptick, more quarters will be ordered by the Federal Reserve System and the U.S. Mint will strike them.

If demand continues to decline, mintages will continue to run at numbers that the collectors of the 1950s would be familiar with.

Yet to come are the American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands designs. How low can mintages go for these? We'll see.