On Tuesday, December 23, 2008, the President signed H.R. 6184 into law. This establishes a program for a new series of quarters with rotating reverse designs featuring National Parks or National Sites in each of the 50 States, Washington DC, and each US Territory.
I wrote a previous post examining some of the pros and cons of the proposed National Parks Quarters.
Opponents of the series say that the concept of rotating reverse designs has been overused. When the concept was first introduced in 1999, the concept was new and innovate. Now it has become stale. For 2009, there will actually be more circulating coins with rotating designs than coins with static designs. Rotating designs for 2009 will include the Lincoln Cent, DC & US Territories Quarter, Presidential Dollars, and Native American Dollars.
Using several designs per denomination per year has also created an enormous number of coins. Next year, circulating coins will include four cents, one nickel, one dime, six quarters, one half dollar, and five dollar coins. This makes a total of 18 different coins. If you count the various versions of each coin, the number swells to 98 coins. This includes business strikes from Philadelphia and Denver, satin finish mint set coins from Philadelphia and Denver, proof coins, and silver proof coins.
Supporters of the new series cite the fact that the 50 State Quarters Program created millions of new coin collectors, inspired people to examine their pocket change and learn about the States. There is some validity to these arguments. The “new State Quarters” may keep some people collecting who would have otherwise stopped after the completion of the 50 States. The designs featuring National Parks and Sites will also bring greater awareness to some of America’s most beautiful areas.
I’ve also stated that some of the designs for National Park Quarters might be superior to the prior State Quarters. Some of the State Quarter designs became cluttered by trying to incorporate a cacophony of different symbols. The National Park Quarters would more likely take focus on a single area of natural beauty or historically significant site.
Whatever your opinion on the National Park Quarters, the series has now become a reality. Look for them in 2010.