US Coins

Final 2019-W quarters found week before official release

An Arkansas collector located more than 300 2019-W Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarter dollars Oct. 29, a week before the scheduled Nov. 4 release into general circulation through the Federal Reserve.

The collector, identified by Professional Coin Grading Service only as Brenda T. of Arkansas, is one of four collectors who will split a $2,000 PCGS bounty for being the first to locate examples of the fifth and final 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollar from special circulation quality production at the West Point Mint.

As part of the yearlong PCGS Quarter Quest program, the four submitters will split a $2,000 bounty and each receive $500. Their coins will carry the encapsulation insert pedigree of “First Discovery.” The submitted coins discovered in Arkansas and Louisiana before the official release will also be labeled “Early Circulation.”

Any submitted 2019-W Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarter dollars received within the first seven days after the PCGS First Discovery is confirmed will automatically receive the “First Week of Discovery” pedigree.

Qualifying coins submitted after those seven days and within 45 days of the PCGS First Discovery will automatically receive an “Early Find” pedigree.

All first week of discovery submitters may also opt to encapsulate their finds, for no additional charge, with labels autographed by Emily Damstra, the U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist who designed the reverse of the Wilderness coin.

For a limited time, PCGS is offering Damstra-signed labels to all PCGS Collectors Club and Authorized Dealer submitters of 2019-W Idaho quarters and other United States coins featuring her designs. 

The West Point Mint struck 2 million of each of the five America the Beautiful quarter dollars for 2019. The coins were randomly salted into bags of Denver and Philadelphia Mint quarter dollar production for shipment to the Federal Reserve for delivery to designated distribution points across the country.

Sharing the prize

The other three collectors to share in the $2,000 PCGS bounty with Brenda T. are David M. from Louisiana, Karl P. from Maryland and Chris C. from Mississippi.

Brenda T., identified as a teacher and author, was searching for 2019-W San Antonio Missions National Historical Park quarter dollars when she was informed by a teller at a local Arkansas bank that only the Wilderness quarter dollars were available. She purchased five boxes of quarter dollars, each containing a total of $500 in face value of the coins, wrapped in 40-coin, $10, rolls.

She found her first 2019-W River of No Return Wilderness quarter dollar in the third 40-coin roll she searched and proceeded to find more than 300 more examples combined from subsequent rolls searched.

100 percent completion

Adding her latest winning quarter dollar to her set will make her the first to be able to achieve the coveted 100 percent completion in the PCGS Quarter Quest category. According to PCGS, “there are currently 90 sets in the quarter quest composite at 80% completion. Brenda will be the first to achieve 100% if she adds her coin.”

David M., like Brenda T., will have his First Discovery coins also designated “Early Circulation” on the grading labels. David M. says he drives into Arkansas and Mississippi to buy boxes of new circulation quality coins from banks in those states.

Karl P., who says he’s new to collecting and began searching for West Point Mint quarter dollars in June, was surprised when he discovered in his recent search a 2019-W River of No Return Wilderness coin, since it came from a box of rolled coins containing San Antonio and War in the Pacific National Historical Park quarter dollars.

Chris C., who has searched rolls many times during his 14 years in the hobby, was also looking for Texas’ San Antonio Missions quarter dollars when he struck pay dirt with a 2019-W Idaho coin. 

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