What are State Quarters Worth?

various fifty State quarters

 James Bucki

Despite the United States Mint manufacturing the 50 State Quarters by the hundreds of millions of coins, the venerable Statehood Quarters program is one of the most collected coin series in U.S. coin history. The U.S. Treasury Department has stated in press releases that 140 million Americans collected the 50 State Quarters. Additionally, the Treasury Department coordinated with the Federal Reserve Bank to allow individual banks to order boxes of specific state quarters. This made it extremely easy to flood the market with these brand-new coins.

So, even if the average mintage of a circulating State Quarter is somewhere around 343 million coins of each date and mintmark, with 140 million people collecting them, that's only about 2 coins per person. Given these numbers, it makes one wonder if they were truly 140 million people collecting them. However, it is highly unlikely that all 140 million people have tried to assemble a complete date and mintmark set. But, on the other hand, there have been a few people who have assembled a complete 40 coin roll collection of every date and mintmark.

Are There 140 Million People Collecting State Quarters?

The Treasury Department's estimate of 140 million State Quarter collectors seems suspect. It is highly improbable that this figure means that all 140 million people collected a complete set of every State Quarter and mintmark ever made. If that is the case, that would mean almost every other person that you know collected a full set of State Quarters. Common sense tells us that this is probably not the case.

Most probably, this figure probably includes everybody who ever put away one coin from the state that they live in or something similar. Regardless of how you interpret these numbers, the point is that 50 State Quarter collecting is very popular. Like any popular series of coins, the supply often fails to meet demand, causing a price increase. This brings us to the first half of the answer to the question, "What are State Quarters worth?"

What Are State Quarters Worth Now?

There are two 50 State Quarter value charts, one for single coins, and one for rolls of 40 coins (the standard $10 roll of 40 quarters). As in all of the coin value guides, these values are actual dollar amounts that coin dealers most likely will pay you for your coins. The charts also contain retail prices if you would like to purchase individual coins or coin rolls for your own collection. It has been over ten years since the last Fifty State Quarter has been produced. Since that time, many people have decided to liquidate their collection of Fifty State Quarters. Therefore, the supply of available quarters is now exceeding the demand.

What Will State Quarters Be Worth in the Future?

The second half of the answer to the question, "What are State Quarters worth?" depends on our future economy. If 140 million Americans have really squirreled away some quantity of State Quarters and the economy goes sour, the vast majority of those people are going to suddenly flood our economy with all those $10 rolls of quarters. The demand for coins will further be reduced by all the dollar coins and other assorted spare change that folks have lying around the house returning to circulation.

Two things might happen quickly if the average person finds that they need to spend all that saved-up change. (1) The sudden influx of currently reserved money into our economy will further increase inflation, and (2) the collector values for these coins will plummet as the supply suddenly surges. Couple this with the effect of a declining economy, the common citizen will not have the disposable income to purchase coins at a numismatic premium.

The coin market has always ultimately gone up in the long run, and State Quarters are very popular, even if people can't afford to hoard them away at times. If coin dealers can snag these great coins at extremely low prices, it serves two ends. They get the coins cheaply, and they prevent further deterioration of the selling prices by taking the excess coins off the market. And in the long run, the prices will go up. However, if the number of coin collectors collecting the Fifty State Quarters decreases, the bottom will fall out of the market and prices will fall dramatically.

The original Statehood Quarter program ended in 2008, although Congressional legislation has extended the general idea one more year to allow for quarters to honor Washington D.C. and the U.S. Territories in 2009. As the State Quarter program ended, and the final State Quarter was released for Hawaii, many coin experts expected that all State Quarters would rise sharply in value. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and many of them are trading at or near face value.

Edited by: James Bucki