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Price of Bicentennial Issue Unchanged

September 28, 1989|DON ALPERT | Times Staff Writer

Question: I have a quarter that has dates of 1776-1976 on it and would like to know how much it is worth now.--R.M.V.

Answer: It's surprising how often I receive questions such as this. Surprising because the dual date on the quarter (also on the half dollar) was used to signify the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. There was much hoopla at the time, and while 1976 seems to be of rather recent vintage, apparently many people believe they have a rare find.

Sorry to disappoint you, but millions and millions of quarters were minted with the 1776-1976 designation. The intention was to help spread the word with circulating coinage. And in that regard the coins have been a success. Because they are still circulating and still drawing inquiries.

But numismatically, they are rather common pieces. In round numbers, more than 800 million were produced at the Philadelphia Mint, 860 million at the Denver Mint and 7 million at the San Francisco Mint. In addition, there were silver-clad collector pieces issued from San Francisco--11 million uncirculated and 4 million in proof condition. Besides the double date, the quarter is distinguished by the Drummer Boy design on the reverse.

There were undoubtedly some collectors who recall when Indian-head cents were common in pocket change. The same is true with Bicentennial coinage.

Eventually, these coins will either be worn, lost or just put away and will cease circulating. But will they ever become valuable?

Probably not, due to the vast number produced and saved. Your 1776-1976 quarter, I'm sorry to say, is just worth 25 cents.

Q: I have a complete series of the History of America's Men in Space Hallmarked Limited Edition Collection of the International Mint. What I would like to know is their worth and where I would go for an honest appraisal. These coins are silver. --R.M.

A: Your set of medals was privately minted. There is very little market for such pieces, even though they may be quite attractive and were minted in small quantities. Dealers will offer the spot price of silver times 90% of the weight of each medal. It's hard to determine whether you can hope for a collector premium over and above the intrinsic value. You might do best at a garage sale.

Coin News

Bird fanciers will appreciate a new six-coin sterling silver proof set from the Eastern Caribbean States, a federation established in 1979. The federation consists of the twin island states of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The exotic birds, engraved by Robert Elderton, include the green-throated Carib (pictured) on the reverse of the St. Kitts-Nevis coin; also the white cattle egret, the parrot, pelican, the dove and the Sisserou parrot. Each coin has a face value of $100 with only 10,000 sets authorized. Each set is $695 from the British Royal Mint, c/o Barclays Bank of New York, P.O. Box 2570, New York, N.Y. 10164-1060; telephone (800) 221-1215.

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