No amount of money will buy you a genuine 1815 cent, 1933 quarter
dollar or 1975 quarter dollar.
Coinage production has never been a sure thing. While most
denominations are produced year in and year out, sometimes there are gaps.
The most famous gap is the 1815 hole in cent production. As every
numismatic trivia player knows, no cents bear the date 1815 — the only
date missing from a cent since U.S. coinage production began in 1793.
Blame it on the War of 1812.
Before (and after) the War of 1812, the Mint bought cent planchets
from Boulton & Watt of Birmingham, England. The wartime trade
embargo stopped shipments, and the Mint pretty much lacked the
wherewithal to make its own planchets.
In December 1814, the Mint coined all the remaining cent blanks
and placed many of the resulting coins in the pay envelopes of its workers.
No cents were produced in 1815 dated 1815. However, with the end
of the war, planchets once again sailed to America late in 1815. Soon
after their December 1815 arrival, the blanks were struck into cents,
but dated 1816.
While the Mint produced no 1815 cents a number of large cent
collections have the date covered — with altered 1813 and even 1845 cents.
In 1930, by most accounts, the Philadelphia and San Francisco
Mints struck the last of the problem-plagued Standing Liberty quarter
dollars. Beloved by collectors, the coin bedeviled the Mint, with its
raised date (1916 to 1924) and poorly struck head (most years).
In 1932, the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints struck
the first Washington quarter dollars in commemoration of the
bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.
The coin was the nation’s second commemorative quarter dollar,
after the 1893 Isabella quarter dollar, and the first U.S.
commemorative coin produced for circulation.
No quarter dollars were struck in 1933.
Ron Guth writes on PCGS CoinFacts.com, “The coin proved so popular
that the design was continued as a regular-issue for circulation
beginning in 1934.”
Millions of quarter dollars were struck in 1975, but not dated as
such. The Mint, anticipating huge demand for coins celebrating the
200th anniversary of the United States, placed the dual date 1776-1976
on all quarter dollars, half dollars and dollars struck in both 1975
Coinage of the double-dated quarter dollars began April 23, 1975.
The coins were released into circulation July 8, 1975.
Coins struck in 1975 are indistinguishable from quarter dollars
struck the next year.
Gerald Tebben is editor of the Central States Numismatic Society’s Centinel.