When the Statehood quarter series began in 1999, banks and credit unions were able to specifically order from the Federal Reserve Bank $500 face value boxes of the current issues. Because our bank could readily obtain them for us, the company I then owned and where I still work conducted what we called “food-raisers” for the local regional food bank. When customers brought in donations of non-perishable food or cash for the food bank, we gave them the quarters.
We conducted these charitable events for the first Statehood quarter, Delaware, and then again in 2004 when the Michigan quarter was released for our home state. These campaigns generated several tons of food donations and thousands of dollars in contributions.
When the America the Beautiful™ quarter series commenced in 2010, we again sought to repeat these food-raisers. However, for this program, the Federal Reserve Banks would not allow local banks to specifically request to receive these new quarters. Local banks in our area did not receive supplies of the first issue for Hot Springs National Park on a prompt basis, so we paid extra to other dealers who did get them to ship the coins we needed to conduct this event.
When the America the Beautiful™ quarter for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was released in Michigan in 2018, the bank that was working with the U.S. Mint for the public release ceremony generously agreed to let us have a portion of their allocation so that we were again able to conduct another food-raiser, beginning the day after the first public release. By the time our $2,000 face value allotment had been given away, we were able to obtain additional supplies locally or from other dealers.
Early next year, the U.S. Mint will begin issuing quarters depicting American women. The first issue will honor poet Maya Angelou. So, once again, we were hoping to find a quick supply of these quarters in order to conduct another food-raiser.
When I checked with our primary bank whether they knew if they could specifically order these coins from the Federal Reserve, they told me that none of the Fed bulletins had mentioned that being a possibility. Next, I checked with the U.S. Mint’s Press Office, which has been helpful to me in the past. The quick response I received was that the Mint only strikes the coins to fulfill orders from the Federal Reserve Bank, but they have no involvement with how the Fed would distribute these coins. They suggested that I ask the Federal Reserve and supplied this link to do so.
I sent my inquiry to the Federal Reserve Nov. 17. In true bureaucratic fashion, beyond an automatic acknowledgement of having received the inquiry, it took until Dec. 7 to get a reply to my simple question as to whether the Fed would allow member banks to specifically order the quarters honoring women. Here is their reply:
Thank you for reaching out to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The Federal Reserve does not have issuing authority for coin. Federal Reserve Banks only distribute coins to depository institutions for commerce purposes and it does not guarantee specific designs.
Consumers that are interested in ordering specific coins should contact their depository institution or the U.S. Mint.
So, there you have it. When the quarters honoring women are released, once again banks will not be able to specifically order them from the Federal Reserve.
At least, that is the policy right now.
But, there might be a chance to change the policy before the first of these quarters are issued in January or early February.
If you are a coin dealer, you just might use the link above to contact the Federal Reserve Bank with an inquiry along the lines of, “I am starting to receive requests from my customers to provide them with the quarters honoring women that start coming out in 2022. Will it be possible for my bank to specifically order these quarters from the Federal Reserve to supply them to me?”
If you are a collector, consider using the above link to ask the Fed something like, “I am a coin collector who is looking forward to collecting the U.S. quarters honoring women that will be issued starting in 2022. Will it be possible for my bank to specifically order these quarters from the Federal Reserve to provide them to me?”
There is a slight chance that if the Fed receives enough of these inquiries, it just might get them to pay attention and change the policy to allow banks to order the new quarters.
In my judgment, the ability of banks to specifically obtain the newest Statehood quarters helped increase the number of new coin collectors two decades ago. This extra boost disappeared when banks could not order the American the Beautiful™ quarters. With the forthcoming quarters honoring significant American women, this will be the next opportunity to stimulate more interest in numismatics, especially if the Federal Reserve Banks will cooperate.
Patrick A. Heller was honored as a 2019 FUN Numismatic Ambassador. He is also the recipient of the American Numismatic Association 2018 Glenn Smedley Memorial Service Award, 2017 Exemplary Service Award, 2012 Harry Forman National Dealer of the Year Award and 2008 Presidential Award. Over the years, he has also been honored by the Numismatic Literary Guild (including in 2021 for Best Investment Newsletter), Professional Numismatists Guild, Industry Council for Tangible Assets and the Michigan State Numismatic Society. He is the communications officer of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and writes Liberty’s Outlook, a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Past newsletter issues can be viewed at www.libertycoinservice.com. Some of his radio commentaries titled “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio archives posted at www.1320wils.com).