Tuesday, April 7, 2009

State quarters redux

Like a whole lot of other Americans,and maybe the occasional international numismatist, I faithfully collected all 50 of the so-called state quarters that have come out over the last decade or so.

Then I learned that our Mint has decided to continue the program for another year, honoring the various territories of the U.S.

Now this: Impressed with success, the Mint is going to start it all over again, this time with each quarter to honor some significant natural landmark in the respective state. Maybe they'll get done with that and honor specific celebrities and then local inventions and then who knows what? The old eagle might never land on the backside of the coin again.

Meanwhile, though only numismatist nerds know about it, the Mint is also chugging out dollar coins with the images of our presidents, one by one, and in addition, another series of dollar coins with a changing panorama of Native American motifs.

And of course, this year we honor the late Pres. Lincoln's 200th birthday, with a series of scenes on the penny.

Must be bewildering for anyone not native-born, trying to keep up with the appearance of American coinage.

I am all for variety on coinage and I recognize that American coins have been quite boring for most of our lifetimes.

But is this overkill? And do we risk turning our coinage into the grown-up equivalent of baseball or Pokemon cards, mere tokens without the dignity that a nation's coinage should possess?

Heft an old Eisenhower dollar sometime. Now that is a coin!

I'd like to see them put gold and silver back into the alloy. Make our coins be intrisically worth something again, not mere shiny disks of tin and zinc dependent for their worth upon an ever more shaky national economy.

A lot of people may be filling up pickle jars with these fancy new designs. It's fine for fun but as an economic investment, don't believe the hype.


kat said...

Years and years and years ago, at the cash register, taking care of a paying out dinner guest... in the Till, I found:

An Entire Roll of Silver Quarters :-) yum! I have them to this day! The feel of Real Money!

Eastcoastdweller said...

Wow - that was indeed a lucky find! In more than 20 years of scanning every bit of change that comes my way, I've only come across one silver quarter.

Real Money for sure. You understand exactly what I was trying to say, Kat! A pat on the back for You!

kat said...

thanks for the pat!

a few days ago, at Mom's... she gave me some of the new Nickels :-)

and just how did you slip that word to her?! as you had so recently posted about that!