Quarter Collecting

By: Andrew Hopkins


I found the final quarter two days ago. It was in my lunch money. I got home and emptied my pockets, tossing my pencils, pens and homework on my desk, and then I took out my guitar picks and change. I went to put the coins in my bank and I always check the quarters, trying to find the last one. I looked through the change, and said aloud what I had. "Nickel, penny, penny, dime, nickel, quarter." My Papa and I have been collecting state quarters from the time I was eighteen months old. Four or five come out each year until they are all out. They finished coming out in 2008, and I'd been looking for the last coin, from Hawaii, for the past year. We kept our collection together by nailing them into a board. The quarter board is one of my most valuable possessions, and I would be very upset if I lost it. My Papa put in a few quarters when I was too young to start helping him. I always wanted to try to hammer the coins into the board myself, but he didn't let me until I was three or four. He didn't let me because he was always so afraid I would mess up the dining room table, since we hammered the coins into the board while it lay on the table top. My parents and relatives remember how I always wanted to hold the hammer, but he was always too worried about my safety and his dining room table. I remember he had a big bag of quarters he would pull out of his large desk drawer as soon as I would walk in the door. Anytime he got a quarter that's where they went, into that bag in his desk. We went through that bag of quarters two times a week and found new ones each time. I don't remember one time when we didn't find a one new one or more. I especially like the Utah quarter because it has two trains facing each other. I like it because it reminds me of my Papa because he used to work on a train. Once we were at his dining room table in Bangor, where we used to live, and I began to hit all the quarters with a hammer. I remember how the hammer used to sound, banging on the table. One by one each quarter popped out as I went down the line hitting the one next to it. He came into the room and started laughing. I remember him saying, "Oh well, we can just put them back now.” Most people would have gotten mad or flipped out, but he just laughed. That’s just the way he was with me.