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State quarters make appearance

As I finish up the July 15 issue of Numismatic News, I can mention that on the Mint Statistics page that the state quarter mintage box makes a one-week comeback.

I had an e-mail from Halbert Carmichael. I first met him in 1987 at the Charlotte American Numismatic Association convention.

His point to me in his recent e-mail was that he thought it was about time to bring them back onto the page. That’s a difficult task considering the First Spouse box, the Kennedy half dollar box and the list of various Presidential dollar options that the Mint currently sells.

But fundamentally, Halbert is right. It has been a long while since the box appeared, so it is time to bring it in.

What has changed since the last time it appeared was the inclusion of the Oklahoma and New Mexico mintage totals.

The Denver quarter with the Oklahoma design now has the distinction of having the lowest mintage total in the series. It is 194,600,000. That is the first issue to slide under 200 million.

We have touched the low 200 millions before with the P-mint Iowa of 2004 at 213,800,000, Ohio of 2002 at 217,200,000 and Maine of 2003 at 217,400,000, but none has gone below the mark.

We probably can thank the current nonrecession recession for reaching this new low. Coin demand is down in the banking system. Perhaps the last three states will challenge Oklahoma for the overall low point for the entire 10-year series. We’ll see.

We have come a long way from the Virginia of 2000 where the Philadelphia issue racked up a mintage of 943,000,000 and Denver came in at 651,616,000.

Coin demand in the economy has never recovered to the highs achieved in 2000 at the very peak of the tech boom. It is beginning to look like it never will. Perhaps that is why there are so many noncirculating products listed on the Mint Stats page. The Mint and its employees need something to do.