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Matt:

My son is four. He loves to earn quarters. While sorting through his cache of coins, I was trying to put together a sentimental set of one quarter from each year since my birth year, 1959. I found it quite easy going through my spare change, a couple of hundred quarters, to put together most years. But since that time I have rifled through another 500+ quarters and I have yet to find anything predating 1965 and none from 1975. The pre-1965 might make sense, but why none from 1975? Should I keep looking or were no quarters even produced in 1975 and why?

-- Curt Lutz, UCSD

Quarter-wise, 1975 is the year that never was. In '75 and '76, the mints in Denver and Philly whomped out 1.6 billion two-bit coins, but they were all dated 1976 -- the Bicentennial year, you see. The feds wanted to make sure they had plenty of the celebratory slugs, so they got a year's head start, skipping straight from 1974 to 1976. Undoubtedly some of your '76 quarters were minted in '75, but there's no way of knowing which ones. As for the pre-'65 coins, they're solid silver. There may be a few left in circulation, but collectors long ago grabbed up the rest. Assuming you don't want to change your birth date to 1965, a coin shop will charge about $6 to fill in the missing dates. So get the four-year-old humpin' on some overtime.

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