US Coins

Delaware first strike quarters from medal press

Up to 150 1999-P Delaware State quarter dollars were struck with specially prepared dies and planchets during a ceremonial first-strike event Dec. 7, 1998, at the Philadelphia Mint.

At least one of the coins produced during the ceremony was double struck when the press jammed.

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Coin World reported in its April 29 issue that Numismatic Guaranty Corp. had graded and encapsulated two Delaware quarter dollars from the ceremony that were submitted in a special plastic case that resembles a lens for an annual Proof set.

Saratoga Springs, New York, numismatist Anthony Swiatek and his wife, Gloria, of Swiatek-Minerva Coins and Jewelry Ltd. were among the attendees invited to the Dec. 7, 1998, ceremony, and each was invited to strike two 1999-P Delaware quarter dollars as souvenirs of the event.

Anthony Swiatek said he never saw or heard mention of the struck coins being housed in plastic cases.

Swiatek said that after each coin was struck, each was placed into a coin flip and then into a paper coin envelope marked with the name of the person striking the coin and the striking order.

The coins struck by each of those invited guests were shipped by the U.S. Mint after Jan. 4, 1999, when the issue was released into general circulation. 

Swiatek said that, for the guest strikes, three felt-lined wooden trays were prepared, containing 50 planchets per tray, which were separated into 25 compartments that each held two planchets.

Both the dies and the planchets were polished before production, Swiatek said.

For the souvenir strikes, the dies were mounted horizontally on a medal press. 

For the mass production for circulation output, which was initiated simultaneously at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints following the ceremony, quarter dollar dies were mounted horizontally on a high-speed coinage press.

Swiatek said that the press jammed when he was striking one of his two coins, apparently because he released the pair of medal press start buttons too quickly.

The press operator took several minutes to unjam the medal press, but did not remove the already struck coin from the coinage chamber. Swiatek said he was able to engage the dies a second time, ultimately producing a double-struck coin.

The dies for those souvenir strikes were subsequently placed into use for general circulation production, Swiatek said.

After he received the two quarter dollars apiece that both he and his wife struck, Swiatek submitted the coins to Numismatic Guaranty Corp. for grading and encapsulating.

Swiatek said his two coins were certified as Mint State 64 Prooflike and his wife’s as MS-66 Prooflike,

While all four strikes are pedigreed on their grading labels to the 1998 ceremony, Swiatek said nothing designates one of his coins as having been double struck.

Swiatek noted that, soon after the ceremony, he obtained rolls of the 1999-P Delaware quarter dollars from banks, and many examples were Prooflike or semi-Prooflike. 

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