I received a gold 2003 Illinois State Quarter with my change from a 7-11 Slurpee purchase last night. My first thought was "Oh, NO!". There is no worse economic indicator than "valuable looking" limited-edition currency being minted by one's government. Manipulating money's perceived value by making it visually "richer" is like extra curry on fetid, rotting meat. It's a cheap way to cover up the ugly truth.
According to this site, the gold coins do have some sort of additional collectors value. Still, overall it gives me a bad feeling in the feelings.