Honor any special event with custom, handcrafted coins.

It all started when the U.S. Mint came out with the 50 state quarters program in 1999. My brother and I had a contest to see who could get all 50 coins first. This went on for years because they only released five quarters each year.

Yet I had the advantage because I worked as a cashier at a local restaurant. Every chance I got, I sifted through the quarters. Customers must’ve thought I was crazy when I shouted out with glee when they gave me a new state coin. A couple of waitresses started collecting them too.

They say that the state quarter program was started to incite a new generation of coin collectors. But more than that, I thought they generated state pride.  For example, the U.S. Mint released each coin according to the date they joined the union. Our state, Nebraska, joined the union in 1867, so we had to wait until 2006 to get it.

Nebraska’s coin featured Chimney Rock and a covered wagon, but my brother and I thought it should’ve shown beef and corn, our two main staples. In fact, the Wisconsin coin should have been ours. It showed a cow’s head, a hunk of cheese and an ear of corn. Rumor had it that, if you found one with three leaves around the corncob instead of two, then it was a collector’s item. I must’ve collected 30 of them.

Naturally, Arizona’s state coin featured the Grand Canyon, and South Dakota’s coin had Mount Rushmore, but I was surprised that California’s coin featured John Muir, the naturalist, and the condor.

“What happened to the beaches?” my brother asked. “No one thinks of John Muir when they think of California. It’s the beaches and babes, man.”

When the state quarter program ended in 2008, more than 100 million people had collected state coins. My brother and I each had ours, not to mention all the family members and friends we had influenced.

You don’t need the U.S. Mint to help commemorate your state, your company or nonprofit organization. The folks at The Monterey Company have been creating commemorative coins for more than 20 years now. Many of them are made to honor a company founder who has passed away or retired. Still, others celebrate company milestones or projects. Recently, Lockheed Martin asked The Monterey Company to create a coin to commemorate 100 years of aviation history at a world trade show in Paris. Like state coins, your commemorative coins can become collector’s items too.