2008 marks the end of the 50 State Quarters Program, by all accounts the most successful circulating commemorative program in US history.
Correction: 2008 was supposed to mark the end of the program. However, on December 26th President Bush signed a law extending the program one more year.
Huh? Wha? But we're out of states, you say.
And you'd be right. 2009's quarters will not commemorate states, but territories: DC, Puerto Rico, American Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The debate in numismatic circles has been whether those 6 quarters, which were always assumed would be minted, would represent a new, one-year program or would be tacked onto the 50 State Quarters Program. Well, I guess we have our answer now. It's certainly not the answer I'd have given, but it's the answer nonetheless.
This year we get Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii--finishing off the 50 states. Next year we get the territories, commonwealths, and district.
Additionally, 2009 (next year--can you believe it?) will mark the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, and 4 new cents will be released to commemorate our 16th president. Each cent will represent a different period in his life.
Good reasons, all, to keep looking at your change--at least for the next two years.
And then, as I've said before, it's time to put Dr. King on the dime.