It seems natural that American coins have images of famous people from history on them, but the first human did not actually appear on a United States coin until Abraham Lincoln appeared on the penny in 1909. George Washington did not appear on a coin until the silver quarters in 1932, the 200th anniversary of his birth. The U.S. minted the silver Washington quarters until 1964, when a less expensive alloy replaced the precious metal. Unexpectedly, the humble quarter became the subject of the greatest coin collecting craze in American history in 1999 when the United States Mint began issuing the 50 State Quarters at a rate of five each year for a decade. The government estimated that at least 147 million people collected the special 25-cent pieces. The program was so successful that the Mint even issued a special set of real silver quarters marked with an "S" to represent the valuable ore. It may pay to check your pocket change in case one of those beauties escaped a collection. If you are building your own collection from scratch, eBay is the place to start. Reliable sellers offer numerous collectible coins.
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