The Arizona state quarter is one of the rarest and most sought after coins in United States Mint's 50 State Quarters Program. This is because of the notorious cactus error. Due to die breaks on the reverse side, an image of extra cactus leaves was created, covering the artist’s initials.
More specifically, the die break can vary from coin to coin, but you should look for a small cut in the lower right portion of cactus leaves. The error is very close to the last digit of the year.
Some collectors have found cuds covering the “2” or first “0” in the year “2008”, which is the year the coin was released. This error gives the Arizona quarter a considerable bump up in value.
Let’s learn more about this coin and see if it’s worth adding to your collection.
The State Quarter Program
The Arizona quarter is one of the last to be released in the 50 State Quarters Program, along with Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. The program was created by the United States Mint to honor each state of the union and generate nationwide interest in coin collecting. This was an exciting period for numismatists.
A new state coin revealed every ten weeks or so, and the Mint didn’t hold back in production. Over the course of ten years, over 34 billion of these coins made their way into circulation. It’s no wonder the average state quarter has stayed at face value.
There are other well-known state quarter errors, most notably the 2004 Wisconsin. This quarter caused a bit of drama at the time of production when it initially sold to collectors for a whopping $1,500.
There are three variations of errors in this piece, and selling prices currently range from $50-$100, depending on which type of error is found.
How Common is the Arizona Quarter Error?
While there is no exact number of how many Arizona quarters made their way into circulation, it is thought that 509,600,000 of them were minted. Some numismatists have spotted collectors at trade shows selling hundreds at a time, usually going for $20 a piece in mint condition.
At the height of its popularity several years ago, folks were paying upwards of $150 for one Arizona quarter. These days, it’s more common to see the standard 2008 Arizona quarter error go for $3 - $5 online. However, higher quality quarters with more cud faults can sell for up to $30, depending on the seller.
Another criterion in determining value is the coin material. Like the other state quarters, a majority of the collection were clad from mostly copper with a small amount of nickel. A small fraction, 1,192,908 2008 Arizona quarters, were created for the silver set, which was worth much more due to material and scarcity.
Similar to the 2004 Wisconsin quarter, the value of Arizona coin reached its peak when the buzz was high in the collecting community. This was also the last state quarter in the series to garner high prices from errors, so the appeal had already been waning towards the end of the ten-year special.
Safe Bet for a Beginner Collector
As we’ve learned, the 2008 Arizona quarter error doesn’t yield a premium price due to its relatively high abundance in circulation. However, that doesn’t mean they should be discounted completely.
This Arizona quarter would be a great addition to any beginner’s collection. It’s relatively low in cost, and it is recognized as a notable error in a great, modern collection.
If you are lucky enough to locate all the 2004 Wisconsin error variations or the Minnesota, Kansas, and West Virginia errors, it would be a substantial addition to your Arizona state quarter. You would then have a well-rounded variety in your collection. Those are the quarters to look for if you enjoy collecting quarters from the 50 State Quarters Program.