General Question

mangeons's avatar

Why is there a Guam State Quarter?

Asked by mangeons (12203points) July 22nd, 2009

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe Guam is a U.S. State. So why do I have a quarter clearly marked Guam sitting in my pocket? Is this some new promotion I don’t know about?

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11 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

I believe that we have “state” quarters for our territories as well. Thus, the Guam quarter.

Edited: It is part of the 2009 District of Columbia and US Territories Quarter Program

I actually thought the previous program was states and territories, but was incorrect. They got their own program this year.

mangeons's avatar

Thanks, @EmpressPixie, I was just under the impression that “State” Quarters were only for states.

dalepetrie's avatar

@EmpressPixie – you beat me to it. Basically, I’m a coin collector so I know all about these things. Essentially we had the same quarter designs for decades, and to renew an interest in coin collecting, the US mint started to mint the State Quarters. The popularity took even them by surprise and when the program was nearing the end, they had to choose what to do next…go back to the old quarters? As it’s a big revenue booster for the government if people buy currency/coinage and hoarde it (don’t spend it), they felt they should expand the program. So they, as @EmpressPixie pointed out, decided in 2009 to also honor the 7 US territories. You may have also noted that the pennies look a little different this year. In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, they chose 2009 to create 4 new penny designs…keep an eye out, I believe at least 3 of the 4 are in circulation (and 4 or 5 of the 7 quarters this year are as well). Also, in 2007, the US Mint started another program for golden colored dollar coins, one for each US President, and a companion series of real gold collectors coins featuring First Ladies…4 Presidents per year are honored, so we should be up to 12 by the end of this year. And as if all that weren’t enough, in 2010, another multi year quarter campaign will begin akin to the 50 states program, one quarter to honor each of the 56 national parks in the US and its territories. Come to think of it, they have been issuing different series of nickels since about 2003 as well, but I believe we are now in the design that will stick for a while, as we will be with the penny when it’s permanent redesign goes into effect in 2010.

EmpressPixie's avatar

And everything that @dalepetrie has said can really be boiled down to “mint proof sets are way thicker lately”. True fact. But still pretty obvious at Christmas time.

dalepetrie's avatar

@EmpressPixie – Yeah, I just got my 2009 Proof Sets….4 acrylic cases, up until 1998 it was one case, then two, then last year 3, now it’s 4. Not sure why they don’t just change the case design altogether and put them all in one, but of course it’s probably easier for them to then just sell the dollar set, the penny set and the quarter set separately as well.

mangeons's avatar

I’m a bit of a coin collector myself, but not too serious. I collect random ones, like Bicentennial Quarters, I have a Bicentennial half dollar, a solid silver quarter, wheatback pennies, foreign coins, nickels with ships on the back, buffalos on the back, and the shaking hands, two of the golden presidents, a Susan B. Anthony, etc. Thanks for the more in-depth answers, I’ll be on the lookout for the new pennies!

LexWordsmith's avatar

@mangeons, chew on this: Quarters cost the USA less than 25 cents each to produce and distribute. So, any time someone puts a Guam quarter into a collection, that person is patriotically improving the STATE of the USA’s finances. Let’s hear it for Guam, American Samoa, and so on! Next step: “invite” some small, rich countries to become States, so that the USA can take over their currency reserves and extend its line of profitable quarter varieties. Our two-digit Federal Information Processing Standard codes for sub-National areas have an unused “05”, which i think was reserved for the Canal Zone, but—why not Monaco?<grin>

LexWordsmith's avatar

Actually, the designation is not “State” quarters, but “Statehood” quarters. So perhaps the US Mint is demonstrating solidarity with some, sometimes viewed currently as insignificant hangers-on, who want to be treated as full and equal citizens.

dalepetrie's avatar

@mangeons – What you really want to be on the lookout for:

Pennies – pre 1959, aka the “wheat” pennies, which have stalks of wheat on the back. These are still found in change with surprising regularity. Prior to 1909, pennies also had an Indian on the head (instead of Lincoln’s profile). You might find an Indian Head Penny in change, but I never have…wheat pennies however I find ALL the time. And though more of a curiousity than a collectible piece of info, pennies up until 1982 had copper in them (today’s pennies are basically coated in copper), so if you drop a 1981 or before penny on a hard surface, you’ll hear a metallic cling…a 1983 or after will be more of a dull click…no ringing sound. The change was made mid 82, so some 82s are copper and some are zinc, and dropping them is the only way to know what you’ve got (when you count the different mint marks…coins being presently minted in Denver or Philidelphia – there were actually 7 different penny designs in 1982, though they all look exactly the same to the untrained eye).

Nickels – These really didn’t change much between the 1938 and today in terms of design or metal content. The only real collectible ones are from 1942 to 1945 during WWII when there was a shortage of the metal nickel and they used silver in them. The only other notable change between 1938 and 2003 was that in 1966, they started to put the designer’s initials on the front of the coin…I tend to keep any nickels I find that are from pre 1960.

Dimes and quarters – basically from 1946 for dimes and when the designs were changed to what they are/(were until ‘99 in the case of quarters), with the exception of the bicentennial quarters, these coins were mostly the same, but the big shift happened in 1964 and again in 1970. In 1964, the dime had its silver content reduced and the quarter had it’s eliminated, and in 1970 dimes also had all silver removed from them. If I find any dimes from 1969 or before or quarters from 1964 or before, I keep em.

I keep any half or silver or Susan B. Anthony or Sacajawea or Presidential or Eisenhower dollars I get my hands on.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I ask for the dollar coins at the bank all the time because they are so darn useful.

mangeons's avatar

@dalepetrie Yep, I have quite a collection of wheatback pennies, I find them in my change often. I also have a penny with a small pumpkin stamped in the front, which I keep because it’s cute. The quarter I have is pure silver, not sure of the date on it.

I don’t yet have a Sacajawea dollar, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for one. I got my Susan B. Anthony Dollar from a bowling alley actually, my dad got a Susan B. Anthony and two Sacajawea dollars in one round of change from an ice cream machine. He gave me the Susan B. Anthony and each of my sisters a Sacajawea.

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