US Coins

2019-W quarter dollars continue to surface

The first 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars are being found in circulation and selling for considerable premiums, and two individuals will be sharing the $5,000 prize offered by the Professional Coin Grading Service as a reward for sending the firm the first examples of the coin for grading.

Original images courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service.

The surprise announcement on April 2 by United States Mint officials that the West Point Mint was striking 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars for circulation caught many collectors off guard, though officials last year had publicly discussed the possibility of “circulating rarities” for the new year.

The first coins are already in circulation and are being found by collectors and dealers, and some of these first pieces are bringing substantial premiums.

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The West Point Mint will be striking a portion of the circulating mintage for all five designs of 2019 America the Beautiful quarter dollars, with the first two coins already in production and in circulation. The West Point mintages will be limited to 2 million coins per design, a number well below those for the Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint versions of the coin. For example, mintages of the Lowell National Historical Park quarter dollar — the first of this year’s coins — are 86.3 million 2019-P quarters and 87.8 million 2019-D coins. Mintages of the American Memorial Park quarter dollar, the second 2019 coin in the series, are not available though the coins are in production and in circulation.

The 2019-W quarter dollars will be available only in circulation quality and all will be released into circulation through Federal Reserve Banks.

Plans for release

As Coin World reported in its April 22 issue, T.V. Johnson, director of the U.S. Mint Office of Corporate Communications, said April 1 that Treasury authority to produce the quarter dollars at the West Point Mint was not received until after the Feb. 4 circulation release of the Lowell National Historical Park quarter dollars. The 2019-W Lowell National Historical Park quarter dollars and the 2019-W American Memorial Park quarters are both being mixed into production of the current circulation strikes of the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.

Future West Point Mint releases will also be mixed with the coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. 

The mixed bags are being shipped to the Federal Reserve’s contracted armored carriers, which currently handle rolling and distribution of circulating coinage. The first bags were shipped April 1.

Within a few days of the coins’ release into circulation, collectors began reporting finds, and a number began appearing for auction at sites like eBay. As of April 17, raw examples of the two 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars had settled in price to a range of $35 to $45 per coin, with some early transactions bringing somewhat higher prices.

PCGS reward claimed

As one of its promotional efforts for the new coins, Professional Coin Grading Service offered a $5,000 prize to the person first to submit a 2019-W quarter dollar to the company. 

In just seven days, PCGS customers found examples of the Lowell coin and shipped them to the firm for grading.

According to PCGS, two individuals submitted single examples of the 2019-W Lowell National Historical Park quarter dollar on the same day, April 9, and will share the prize. PCGS identified the finders as “a collector identified as ‘Steven R.’ from Topeka, Kansas,” and “collector ‘Michael T.’ of Fairfax, Virginia.”

Steven told PCGS he obtained his winning coin, now graded PCGS Mint State 65, when he “just stopped at a gas station to buy a couple of Pepsis.” 

Michael revealed he found his winning coin when he purchased rolls of quarters. “On the end of one roll I saw a W mint mark, and I was super excited there might be something good in here,” he recalled. His 2019-W quarter dollar is graded PCGS MS-66.

The two slab inserts indicate a pedigree of “PCGS First Discovery 1 of 2.”

The coin identified as being from “Michael” was consigned to GreatCollections for auction. As of April 17, bids had reached $3,300 with more than 11 days before the auction closes. 

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