By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
The 2001 Vermont Quarter was the 14th issue in the long-running and popular 50 State Quarters program that launched in 1999 and continued through 2008. The series, which inspired more than 125 million people to become coin collectors and spawned a generation of numismatists, honors each of the 50 states and was released in the order that each state joined the Union. The release of the Vermont Quarter on August 6, 2001, was much heralded throughout the picturesque New England state, which was admitted to the United States on March 4, 1791; it was the first state to join the nation following the admission of the original 13 colonies.
Themed for the state’s motto, “Freedom and Unity”, the coin depicts a most quintessentially Vermont-flavored scene as designed by T. James Ferrell. The reverse features a jacketed and scarved person harvesting sugar using sap buckets strapped to two maple trees. In the background stands the iconic Camel’s Hump Mountain, which stands 4,083 feet high; as the third-tallest mountain in “The Green Mountain State”, it is one of Vermont’s most widely recognized natural features.
The coin was unveiled in a gala ceremony at the Vermont State House in Montpelier, where Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D) and United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore officially released the 2001 Vermont Quarter.
“As the nation’s largest producer of maple syrup, it is fitting that the Vermont Quarter honors the people and the industry that have contributed so much to the state in its 210-year history,” said Holsman Fore during the event, which saw the Vermont Department of Agriculture selling maple-flavored snacks to the crowds and giving out new Vermont Quarters in change.
Governor Dean described during the release ceremony how he chose the design for the Vermont Quarter based on a careful 18-month-long design selection process guided by the Vermont Arts Council and involving citizens from around the 9,623-square-mile state. A litany of designs was whittled down to a final three, from which Dean ultimately chose the winner.
“Last summer, as I traveled around talking to Vermonters, the maple sugaring scene was everyone’s favorite design throughout the state,” he said. “I’m happy and proud that it was chosen so clearly by the people of Vermont because it reflects our rural heritage and highlights our beautiful landscape. I’m sure this coin, like our state, will be valued by everyone for a long time.”
The Vermont Quarter Today
Indeed, the 2001 Vermont Quarter is valued by people today, including coin collectors.
The coin remains common in circulation today, thanks to the production of more than 880 million circulation strikes, including 423,400,000 Philadelphia issues and another 459,404,000 quarters from the Denver Mint. An additional 3,093,273 copper-nickel clad Proofs and 889,694 90% silver Proofs were struck at the San Francisco Mint patently for collectors. And while the 2001 Vermont Quarter is readily available in pocket change at face value, many collectors seek uncirculated and Proof specimens in the best-possible condition.
The Proofs, which were carefully handled throughout their production and placed in Proof sets, are relatively easy to come by in the premier grades of PR69DCAM and PR70DCAM and can be had for prices less than $50.
However, top-level specimens of the uncirculated copper-nickel strikes are much tougher to find anywhere near MS70. The 2001-P Vermont Quarter is highly scarce in PCGS MS68 and decidedly rare in PCGS MS69. According to PCGS CoinFacts, fewer than 1,000 examples have been graded PCGS MS68, while barely a couple dozen specimens have earned a lofty PCGS MS69, with retail prices hovering around $30 for the former and $375 for the latter.
The 2001-D is even more challenging, with MS68 representing the finest grade for PCGS specimens, with fewer than 150 specimens at that level and each trading for around $135.
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