I have never had the pleasure of visiting the state of New Mexico. I seem to recall that my uncle’s green 1960 Ford station wagon had a sticker in the back window indicating that he, my aunt and two cousins had made it there on a visit once.
I have known people from New Mexico and others who moved there to retire. I have even read about it in books about hot retirement places. The American Numismatic Association has even had a show there in Albuquerque during my career, but my travels have never taken me there.
It is funny how these thoughts pop into my head when I think about the New Mexico state quarter that will be released April 7. But then, that is part of the point.
Collecting coins is as much about the person who is doing the collecting as the coins themselves. The New Mexico quarter will educate Americans about a state that entered the Union in 1912 and its Zia sun symbol design.
But every American who acquires one of the new quarters and takes a moment to look at it will make the coin his or her own by the thoughts that come to be associated with it.
Will they know where New Mexico is? Do they know the name of the governor?
It is fortunate for the hobby that Gov. Bill Richardson thinks the coin is important enough to head the state’s dignitaries in introducing the quarter with Mint Director Ed Moy.
Richardson has the honor of having been in the cabinet in Washington, D.C., when the program was authorized by Congress and now is a participant near the conclusion of its 10-year run.
New Mexico’s motto is “Land of Enchantment.” Enchantment is a good word describing the basic appeal of coin collecting, don’t you think?