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Turning point?

Is the huge state quarter supply overhang on its way to being drawn down?

Collectors have been aware that quarter production has been dropping steadily since the heyday of production during the first few years of the state quarter program a decade ago.

Mintages exceeding one billion of each design, and as high as a billion and a half of the Virginia design, were common, but then falling to roughly half a billion of each design by the last year of the state quarter program in 2008.

Then the bottom fell out of the economy and with it demand for quarters. Further depressing the need for new quarters was the fact that many previously saved state quarters found their way back into circulation as people hit by the recession spent them to keep a roof over their heads.

By 2011, mintages of the current America the Beautiful designs have fallen to little more than 60 million each – until the fifth design for Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Then production ballooned to 143.2 million.

This is a far cry from the nearly 1.6 billion Virginia coins of 2000, but a nice increase from the four earlier designs.

Special case or harbinger of better days ahead?

We can think about that while we wonder if it would be worthwhile to put away some of the 2011 quarters with lower mintages.

Will a Gettysburg Denver quarter with a mintage of 30.4 million and the Philadelphia version with a mintage of 30.8 million appeal to hobbyists a generation from now?

The other mintages are:

Glacier Denver 31.2 million

Glacier Philadelphia 30.4 million

Olympic Denver 30.6 million

Olympic Philadelphia 30.4 million

Vicksburg Denver 33.4 million

Vicksburg Philadelphia 30.8 million

Chickasaw Denver 69.4 million

Chickasaw Philadelphia 73.8 million.

Whatever they think of the 30-million piece mintages, it is obvious they will refer to the Chickasaw quarters as the common ones for 2011.