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Marianas quarter debuts Dec. 10

The Northern Marianas’ time in the U.S. numismatic limelight will be shorter than that for the other five issues in the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarter Program.

Mathematically the six quarters should have an average of two months as the current quarter issue. However, Northern Marianas quarters were released to the banking system Nov. 30, just one month prior to year end.

The formal debut ceremony slated for Dec. 10 in Saipan is just a scant three weeks prior to New Year’s.

But by the time Deputy Mint Director Andy Brunhart unveils the sixth design in a formal ceremony, most collectors who want one will already have purchased an example in mint sets, proof sets, or roll sets.

More likely on the minds of collectors will be final mintages. Totals have trended lower with each 2009 issue, but the fifth issue, the U.S. Virgin Islands, has a combined Philadelphia and Denver mintage of 82 million, which might be signaling that a floor has been reached because it was only 200,000 fewer than the number achieved by the American Samoa design. But this number is less than half the mintage for the first one in the sequence, the District of Columbia.

That would mean the Northern Marianas issues will be scarcer than the DC issues, but not scarce enough to be considered rare.

To order rolls, visit the Web site at www.usmint.gov. Sets of two rolls each are $32.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. They may be ordered by telephone at (800) USA-MINT.

Bags of 100 coins and 1,000 coins are also available.

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