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Ten years of state quarter success

When I look in the mirror in the morning and see gray hair, I know time is moving along at a relentless pace.

However, it still gives me pause when I see specific reminders of its passage, such as next week’s First Strike Ceremony at the Denver Mint Oct. 14 for the Hawaii state quarter.

When the coin is released Nov. 10 in the 50th state, the entire 50-state quarter program will have run its course.

It is a 10-year series and represents the most ambitious design program the Mint has ever undertaken, involving local selection committees and governors.

A decade ago I wondered how many eight-year-olds would still be putting the new designs in the many state quarter albums that arrived on the market to cater to collector needs.

I still wonder. I am sure many fell by the wayside as the focus of life during the teenage years tends to rank coin collecting at a very low level, except perhaps to remember the coins’ existence when cash is short and a few extra dollars might buy the gasoline necessary to attend the next critical social gathering.

However, the state program has been successful by every measure. There are more coin collectors now that there were at the beginning of the program in 1999.

We may not know the total precisely, but their activities and their dollars have changed the hobby forever. The bonus, of course, is when all of the kids who grew up with state quarters enter middle age, fondly remember their experiences and begin collecting in earnest in a manner that has always made the ages 45-60 the most productive hobby years. Then it will be their turn to look in the mirror. I hope they can smile back as I have.