Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Coin collectors flipping over new Florida quarter
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-JOURNAL
DAYTONA BEACH — Paul Knudsen is waiting on his $1,000 order of Florida’s new quarter and expects to sell them quickly at 50 cents each, doubling his investment.
Studio shot of Collector Kids 50 State Quarters map with individual coin folders, Tuesday, May 30, 2000. (Photo: News-Journal/Brian Myrick)
The quarter, released Monday by the U.S. Mint, will contribute to the largest boost in the coin-collecting hobby in decades, said Knudsen, who owns Paul’s Collectibles on International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
He said the 50 State Quarters Program is attracting more children and seniors, and he expects the Florida quarter to be popular.
“I’m anticipating that they’re going to sell like hot cakes,” Knudsen said.
The quarters should be available at banks next week.
Selected by Florida residents, the quarter is the 27th coin to be released since the Delaware quarter in 1999. The design features a 16th-century Spanish galleon and a space shuttle. The inscription is “Gateway to Discovery.”
Gov. Jeb Bush and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings plan to unveil the coin at St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on April 7. Jennings will be in St. Augustine, and Bush will be at the Kennedy Space Center.
Alia Faraj, Bush’s press secretary, said the public is invited to both ceremonies, but people need tickets — free of charge — for the ceremony at the Space Center. The times have not been set.
“It’s a little part of Florida’s history, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Faraj said.
The new quarters will be available in Florida next week, said SunTrust Bank spokeswoman Susie Findell. Banks will issue them as people ask for them or get change, she said.
The U.S. Mint distributes the coins to the Federal Reserve Bank where they are purchased by commercial banks. From there they move into circulation.
U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said the program took coin collecting from a specialized hobby to mainstream. He estimated 130 million people collect state quarters.
“This is the most popular program in mint history,” White said.
The program grew out of a consensus between Congress and collectors, he said.
Congress wanted the coins to have a greater educational value. Instead of five presidents, children learn about each state.
Congress is working on a bill to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, and two new nickel designs will begin circulation this year, he said.
The government issues five quarters a year in the order in which states ratified the Constitution, and each coin is minted for 10 weeks. The Florida quarter design was selected in 2002 from 1,500 entries.
Knudsen recommends getting the coins in mint condition before they are circulated. That way they hold their value over time, he said.
People also can purchase the quarters from www.usmint.gov.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has information about tickets to the unveiling ceremony. Call (321) 449-4444.