In 1999 the first 5 coins of a remarkable series made their way into the hands of the American public. Designed to give a boost to the nation’s interest in numismatics, these specially themed ‘State’ Quarter Dollars rapidly became the most popular collecting phenomenon in American history.
In 1993 a committee was formed to investigate ways to generate interest from younger collectors in the American numismatic market. Little did they know the ideas proposed in that very meeting would transcend all ages and interests and become the most widely collected series of coins in American history, and arguably, the world.
The key proposal was a collection of 50 new quarters – one for every state. 5 quarters were released a year over a ten year period, with the reverse designs representing the history and heritage of each state – a timeless reminder of the breadth and diversity of American culture. To make room for these intricate designs the familiar writing ‘Quarter Dollar’, ‘Liberty’ and ‘In God We Trust’ was moved onto the obverse.
The planning process to get such a momentous series of coins produced is estimated to have involved 3.5 million people, whether that was submitting design concepts or voting for their favourite.
The hard work resulted in a series of coins which are a true spectacle, each a miniature work of art. From the Wright Brothers Plane on the North Carolina coin, Mount Rushmore on the South Dakota coin, to Chimney Rock on the Nebraska coin, and the Grand Canyon on the Arizona coin, each design is a talking point and little piece of US history.
Despite their obvious popularity there was a time when their very survival was in jeopardy. Various reports state that the US Treasury was opposed to the idea, unconvinced by the figures and unsure of the concept. Nevertheless the State Quarters Programme made it through a strict feasibility study unscathed, and the first coins were struck in 1999 – the rest is history…
It’s estimated that nearly half of all Americans collected these coins in some form or another. That’s roughly 150 million people!
But as the series was technically intended for circulation it could sometimes take years for a collector to find all the quarters in their change. And as each coin was struck for just 10 weeks, never to be struck again, finding every single one of these coins would still take a monumental effort. Especially as a significant proportion of the coins were taken out of circulation straight away into private collections, making them harder to find than ever before.
The coins were so popular that in 2009, following the conclusion of the 50 State Quarters Program, a one year follow up series began featuring six additional Quarters that represented the six US jurisdictions that aren’t classified as states.
What’s more, these extra coins had a significantly lower mintage of 636,200,000 – a tiny amount compared to the 50 State Quarters Program that had its lowest mintage in 2008 with just 2,438,200,000 Quarters being issued.
These 56 US Quarters in total clearly make for an excellent collection of US coinage and it’s not surprising that this collection became the most successful numismatics program in history!
Start collecting today with 6 of the MOST WANTED US Quarters
Start your very own journey with the collection of US State Quarters that Half of America Collected… and save yourself all the hard work of searching for each of these quarters individually.
£2 coins were released 1986, when this brand new denomination was introduced for the very first time.
The XIII Commonwealth Games was the first commemorative £2 coin and was issued for a non-royal event which gripped the nation. I can only imagine what an exciting time it must have been for people to discover these brand new coins which marked such a significant change in the UK’s commemorative coin issuing strategy.
These coins are considered rare due to the fact that although are legal tender, they were never common in everyday circulation and were struck mainly for collectors.
Six more single coloured £2 coins were struck over the next 10 years before the introduction of the fully circulating bi-metallic £2 denomination in 1998, which has seen 47 different designs in total so far.
So, let’s take a step back in time to 1986 and delve into the history of Britain’s commemorative £2 coins…
Commonwealth Games £2
The 1986 Commonwealth Games £2 coin changed the face of UK commemorative coins, being the first of its denomination to be struck and the first British coin being issued to commemorate a sporting event. The thirteenth Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986, and are well remembered for being boycotted by 32 of the 59 eligible countries who did not agree with Britain’s sporting connections to South Africa during the Apartheid era. The reverse design features a thistle encircled by a laurel wreath over the cross of St Andrew.
Edge Inscription: XIII COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCOTLAND 1986
In 1689, Prince William and Mary accepted the Declaration of Rights prior to being offered the throne, which effectively shifted the balance of power from the Crown to Parliament and changed the course of British political history. These £2 coins were issued in 1989 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of this landmark Act. There were 2 versions of each coin issued – English and Scottish. The English reverse designs features the Crown of St Edward and the inscription ‘Tercentenary of the Claim of Right’ and ‘Tercentenary of the Bill of Rights’ respectively.
Bank of England £2
When William and Mary came to the throne in 1689, public finances were weak and the system of money and credit were in disarray. The Bank of England was founded in 1694 to act as the Government’s banker and debt manager, and its position as the centre of the UK’s financial system is maintained to this day. This commemorative £2 was issued in 1994 to mark its 300th anniversary. The reverse design features the original Corporate Seal of the Bank of England and distinctive Cypher of William and Mary.
Edge Inscriptions: SIC VOS NON VOBIS (thus you labour but not for yourselves)
This commemorative £2 was issued in 1995 to mark 50 years since the end of World War II. Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, is the 8th May 1945 when armed forces formally accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany. Upon the news, jubilant crowds sang and danced in the streets of London, New York, Paris and Moscow. The reverse design by John Mills features a dove as “a symbol of aspiring peace; a calm, bountiful and optimistic image”.
Edge Inscriptions: 1945 IN PEACE GOODWILL 1995
United Nations £2
The United Nations was established in the aftermath of World War II with the aim of maintaining world peace and to work for social progress. Since its creation in 1945, the UN has sought to resolve potential conflicts peacefully and fight against poverty, hunger and disease across the world. This commemorative £2 coin issued in 1995 marks 50 years since the inception of the UN, and features flags of nations accompanying the 50th anniversary symbol.
In 1996, England hosted the 10th European football championship and a commemorative £2 coin was struck in celebration of football. The reverse design resembles a football, and is accentuated by the unusual concave surface of the coin. The year of 1996 is prominent, and the sixteen small rings represent the sixteen teams competing in the tournament. The eventual winners of the competition were Germany who knocked out hosts England in the semi-finals.
Edge Inscriptions: TENTH EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Following a review of the United Kingdom’s coinage, the decision was made that a general-circulation £2 coin was needed and so the new bi-metallic coin was introduced on the 15th June 1998.
As the first bi-metallic coin ever used in the UK, the £2 yet again revolutionised Britain’s coinage and changed the face of these incredibly popular coins, allowing them to be both commemorative and circulated, which has had a great impact for collectors who are able to find these coins in their change.
Do you have any of the above £2 coins?
To celebrate England’s on-going success at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ , The Royal Mint has issued a special release that is only available to purchase for four weeks – the UK 2018 Lion of England £5 BU pack.
This unique version of the coin has been specially struck with a 2018 date to mark such an incredible moment in British sporting history.
Collectors and England fans will appreciate the Lion of England theme as we watch the Three Lions head into the semi-finals against Croatia tonight for the first time in 28 years.
Dare we say it… Football’s coming home!
This is definitely one for the collector. Not on the original scheduled release list, the coin features the Lion of England with a special 2018 striking date – a rare occurrence and one that will make this coin hugely collectable to not only football fans but sharp-eyed collectors.
*** only available until the 31st July ***