I wrote yesterday about the difficulty of finding things one can buy with a single quarter. The story was related to Monday’s issuance of the Oklahoma quarter, part of the U.S. Mint’s long-running program to highlight each of the 50 states through coinage.
Part of my research for the story involved using a couple of inflation calculators to compare the value of a quarter today and in the past. These things are actually kind of fun. Here’s a graphic that didn’t make the paper showing how much it would cost today to buy 25 cents worth of goods in the past. The timeline at the bottom of the graph runs from 1913 to 2005.
I bought two rolls of shiny new Oklahoma quarters during lunch on Monday, and those were the quarters that appeared in a photo on the front page of The Oklahoman today. But at the end of the day, I had a couple of pounds of quarters rattling around in my pocket. My kids only needed a few, so I started handing out the rest (and I sold a few to folks who wanted more than one).
So far, I’ve handed out about $5 worth of quarters and it’s fun to observe people’s initial reaction to the coin. In general, even people who didn’t vote for the scissortail flycatcher and Indian Blanket artwork find the coin to be attractive. The most critical comments I’ve heard are that the coin isn’t “Okie” enough.
In the past two days, I’ve handed quarters to colleagues in the newsroom and my wife and four kids. I even slipped one to Boone Pickens after completing an interview.
So, to amend my earlier story, handing out quarters is the best value I’ve found for the new coins.