US Coins

Mint accepting returns of Proof 2019-W premium cents

The release date for the 2019-S Silver Proof set is noon Eastern Time April 17.

Customers disappointed with the quality of the Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent the U.S. Mint shipped as a bonus to those ordering the 2019 Proof set can return the products for a replacement — at their own expense.

The cent is a premium item, so although it is packaged separately from and not a part of the annual set, customers dissatisfied with the cent can’t just return the cent for a replacement. The cent must be accompanied by the Proof set it came with.

“The U.S. Mint acknowledges that some premium Proof W Lincoln cents included with the 2019 U.S. Mint Proof Set exhibit surface marks on the obverse (under the ‘I’ in ‘IN’ and the first ‘T’ in ‘TRUST’),” T.V. Johnson, the U.S. Mint’s director of corporate communications, said via email March 28. “The Mint is researching the cause of the marks to determine corrective actions for the blank and die preparation process.” 

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Customers wishing to return either the Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent or the 2019 Proof set for replacement or refund must return the set accompanied by the Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent to receive a replacement set and a replacement Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent, Johnson said. 

The customer pays the shipping cost to send the 10-coin set and cent back, Johnson said. The Mint pays the cost to ship the new set and replacement cent to the customer, he said.

Call for instructions

Collectors needing instructions on how to return the Proof set and cent premium can telephone U.S. Mint customer service at 1-800-872-6468. Customer service is handled at a Customer Care Center in Texas, by PSFWeb, a contracted vendor for the U.S. Mint.

Illinois collector Chris Hale said via email March 28 he learned of the option to seek replacement of the cent from the Mint’s Facebook page. However, he said when he called the 800 line, he was informed “because the penny is a free item we will not replace.”

PSFWeb also handles the U.S. Mint’s product distribution facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Numismatic products are shipped to customers through the Memphis facility from the U.S. Mint production facilities where the products are manufactured and packaged.

A number of collectors contacted Coin World by telephone and email soon after receiving the Proof 2019-W cents, claiming that they exhibit orangish-copper blotches in the field in front of Lincoln’s face as well as along the rim between the 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. The discoloration is also evident in the field behind Lincoln’s head, below the IN in the motto.

The West Point Mint is striking 2019-W Lincoln cents in three finishes for inclusion in separate packaging as premiums for three annual numismatic coin sets.

The standard Proof set, on sale now, is accompanied by a cent with a standard Proof finish. This is the coin that some Mint customers have received in substandard condition.

The Silver Proof set, to be issued April 17, will be accompanied by, also as a premium in separate packaging, an 11th coin, a Reverse Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent.

The Uncirculated Mint set, which includes 10 coins each from the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, will have as its premium, the 21st coin in the set, a 2019-W Lincoln cent with Uncirculated finish.

Packaging for cents

According to the Mint, the Proof 2019-W cents are housed in heat-sealed plastic bags manufactured from low-density polyethylene (LDPE) that is used in a variety of applications including food storage containers. 

The Reverse Proof and Uncirculated 2019-W Lincoln cents will be packaged in Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) heat-sealed plastic bags that are LDPE embedded with a corrosion inhibitor, the Mint states.

The packaging for the three 2019-W Lincoln cents is considered chemically safe. 

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