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Missing quarters make it difficult to think clearly

May 17, 2009
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Missing five quarters shouldn't bother me so much.

Except it's seven quarters, and it does bother me.

Back in 1999 when the 50 state quarters program started, I bought a little green cardboard jacket with holes for all the state quarters and religiously filled in the slots for the quarters as they came out. But I used only quarters minted in Denver because that's where my daughter lives.

Back then, I could even see the mint mark letter. Now I need a big magnifying glass to even find that little mark. Time does play tricks on a person.

Anyway, I seemed to run out of collection steam about mid-way through this project, even before. That's evident from the glaring open hole where Tennessee's quarter should be. That quarter was released on Jan. 2, 2002. Ohio's quarter, released on March 11 that year, also eludes me.

That's two holes together. I'd better never hold that coin jacket near my head.

That must have been a bad year for me, because I'm missing Mississippi, too, and that quarter came out on Oct. 15, 2002. Arkansas, on Oct. 20, 2003, and North Dakota, Aug. 28, 2006, round out my missing quarters.

The extra two are Nevada and Washington, quarters I have but don't want. They carry, I think, a P mint mark, and I want D. Of course, those marks may be D and I'm beating a downed horse here, but I don't think so.

What brought all these missing quarters to mind was the District of Columbia quarter I found in a handful of change. I didn't know D.C. got its own quarter and certainly was surprised to end up with one. Because my folder didn't have a hole for D.C., I put that in the spot that shows the George Washington head side of the coins. At least then I've got it without having to paste it on the board. To look at it will take some doing each time, but I can deal with that.

What's hard to deal with is how dumb I feel when I look at these quarters all nestled snugly in their cardboard bed. I never realized Iowa and Wisconsin came into the union one after the other, and certainly I didn't remember what years. I must have known that at one time, you'd think.

There's a surefire way for me to remember it now, though. because Iowa and Wisconsin came into the union on either side of me, except 101 and 99 years earlier - Iowa in 1846, and Wisconsin in 1848.

Iowa's statehood date is actually Dec. 28, 1846, which would be just 3 days shy of being in the same year as me except 100 years earlier.

Yes, I know, none of this makes sense, but when my mind gets stuck on a certain thing, it just doesn't like to move until some action is taken. I may have to make everyone in the newsroom show me their quarters until I find those five - or seven - missing quarters. And they'd better be D's.

Of course, someone else will have to check that.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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