Do you remember when the 50 State Quarters Program was launched back in the '90s?

Congress passed this in 1997 to "honor the unique Federal Republic of 50 States that comprise the United States; and to promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the individual states, their history and geography, and the rich diversity of the national heritage...", and also to encourage "young people and their families to collect memorable tokens of all of the States for the face value of the coins."

They were minted from 1999 through 2008. On the back was a special design that paid some sort of nod to the history or culture of that particular state.

New Jersey’s was an image of Washington crossing the Delaware and the slogan “Crossroads of the American Revolution.”

A new state came out every ten weeks. Five states per year.



New Jersey’s was the 3rd released. Not being a collector of any kind I remember being amused at how many people I knew had those big quarters collection boards and every time they got change they’d tear through to see if they finally got, say, a Wisconsin.

So all these years later how hard or easy are they to come across? I’d be the worst person to ask because I cared not then so I certainly never am looking at coins now.

But ran a story explaining different states had far different amounts circulated.

Virginia for example had the most with 1.6 billion of their state quarter put into circulation. Oklahoma had the least with fewer than 417 million.

New Jersey ranks 32nd for most coins in circulation having had 662.6 million minted.


Now after that useless trivia, may I remind you of what I said about all this way back in the '90s? I said that if they really wanted more people to collect these state quarters the designs should have been allowed to be more sarcastic and in your face.

Any of the following ideas would have made for a much more collectible NJ quarter.

Fenimore Landfill

A heap of smelly garbage with some stink lines squiggled above. Perhaps a few turkey vultures hovering.

A group of singers

Sinatra, Springsteen, Houston and Bon Jovi. This would have been seriously loved.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Some gritty reality

A pot hole, a car up on cinderblocks with no tires, some litter and a smokestack. A.K.A much of Route 1.

The Jersey Devil

Yes, literally an image of the cloven hooves, forked tail, bat-like wings and all. You put that beast on a coin and many would collect it.

Christie in the beach chair

I know, I know. The Jersey quarter came out in 1999 before he was even a U.S. Attorney.

Christie didn’t have the famous beach chair photo taken until he was governor and the year was 2017. But boy if we could bend time, what a masterpiece we would have had.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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