This post was kindly contributed by Alex, who has been participating in the Choice Change Challenge.
I have an admission to make… the Choice Change Challenge – or “Collecting the Commemorative”, as I’ve come to call it – is not my first foray into coin collecting…
The Choice Change Challenge began with a discussion between a colleague and me as to how long it would take to collect the entire Australian circulating commemorative coin catalogue – using only the everyday change in our pockets. “Not THAT long” we both agreed at the time. As it turns out, aside from some of the more common coins, it is slim pickings out there in Australia’s change! In the last month, I’ve added only a 2001 NSW Federation 50c and 2011 Royal Wedding 20c to my collection. Is it true? Are there really sock drawers in nearly every home that contain those ‘interesting and different’ Australian coins?
But I digress. The above failure to substantially add to the Choice Change Challenge is NOT my real admission. The real truth here is that, after 11 years working in Numismatics, and 5 years travelling the world because of Numismatics, I’ve managed to put together a collection of circulating world commemorative coins that is (in my opinion) none too shabby. Perhaps the hobby has, unbeknownst to me until now, taken over!
Probably the most consciously collected part of my accumulation is the USA State Quarters Program. As many would know, the US Mint began issuing the first five coins in their State Quarters series in 1999. Each year subsequent to that, five states were honoured upon five circulating commemorative quarters. This program proved hugely popular with collectors and has continued on after 2008 with the Territories set in 2009 and now, the America the Beautiful range of National Parks quarters.
In terms of my collection, over the course of several trips, I’ve managed to put aside 35 of the 50 State Quarters Series thus far! That tally includes three of the initial five 1999 coins plus ALL of the five state quarters issued in the program’s second year, 2000! Now, to complete my series, I’ve only got 15 coins to find!
So, hopefully you will all wish me luck as I start preparing for the World’s Fair of Money in Chicago in August and, more importantly, cross your fingers along with me as I attempt to pull the last 15 State quarters out of my pocket while I am there!