What better time than the Fourth of July weekend to review a book about the 50 States quarter series? Actually, itís more than that - A Guide Book of Washington and State Quarters by Q. David Bowers covers all the Washington quarters from 1932 to date. A few weeks ago I reviewed another book on the State Quarter series, A Pocketful of History by Jim Noles. About the Noles book I wrote:
Numismatists should be warned that it's a non-traditional numismatic book - there's nary a word about mintages, proof or uncirculated strikes, silver planchets, mint errors, etc., and David Ganz' role in promoting the concept is given only a passing mention.
This Official Red Book publication from Whitman fills that gap, adding all the requisite numismatic information on the series, and more. The review copy I have at hand stops with the 40th quarter in the series, South Dakota. Iíll have to pick up a newer edition someday. Curiously, I canít find a publication date for this book in any of the usual places, but I have to assume it was in 2006. Lord, am I that far behind in my reading?
Anyway, the 288-page paperback lists for a modest $19.95 retail price. Images are in both black and white and color. Throughout are tables neatly listing mintages, certified grade populations and market values.
As expected, the book does illustrate the major known varieties such as the 1941 Doubled Die obverse and the 2004 Wisconsin "Extra Leaf" versions. A little under half of the book is devoted to the State Quarter series, with the rest covering the "original" Washington quarters Ė their history, design, die changes, minting and grading
The State Quarter portion is neatly organized into sections for each state with subsections covering the history and specifics of the chosen design. Interesting numismatic sidelights are provided in a subsection on "Numismatic Aspects" of each state. Here Bowers mentions and sometimes pictures other state related items such as civil war tokens, medals and paper money issues. The New Hampshire section illustrates a turnpike token featuring a design used as the inspiration for the stateís "Old Man of the Mountain" quarter.
I enjoyed the book and look forward to the updated version. Numismatic literature doesnít have to be about only the old, rare and valuable coins Ė new issues are just as deserving of a scholarly treatment, and what better time to write such a book than in the present, when the coins are new and all of the players involved in their creation are still available to tell their stories.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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