US Coins

First 2019-W quarters found in circulation

The first 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars produced at the West Point Mint 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. 

The Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint versions of the Massachusetts quarter dollar, celebrating Lowell National Historical Park, were already in circulation when the existence of the West Point Mint coins was revealed by the U.S. Mint on April 2. Introduction of the West Point Mint version of that quarter dollar coincided with the release April 1 of the Philadelphia and Denver Mint coins honoring Northern Mariana Islands’ American Memorial Park. The 2019-W versions of that second America the Beautiful quarter dollar for the year are also entering circulation.

Several 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars have already been found. Beginning on April 9, a number of listings, mostly for the 2019-W Lowell National Historical Park quarter dollar, began appearing on various online auctions forums. Dozens of coins have appeared on eBay, also beginning around April 9, and most have bids, or have sold, for nearly $100. Similarly, on the Virtual Coin Show on Facebook, the first example that went up for auction sold for $75 on April 9, and another sold for $100 two days later. It is unclear how long some sellers held the new quarters after they were found. 

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Many collectors and dealers have been buying rolls of quarters from banks in hopes of finding the rare new coins, and people are checking their change, which was the Mint’s intention with the West Point quarters in the first place. 

Several sellers are offering rolls of quarter dollars with a 2019-W example on the end of the roll at prices well above the face value of the roll.

PCGS promotion

PCGS offered a $5,000 prize to the person first to submit a 2019-W quarter dollar for grading, in addition to “First Week of Discovery” prizes for any coins found and submitted within seven days of the first prize, and “Early Find” prizes for any quarter found and submitted within the first 45 days of the first discovery. 

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.”

PCGS will continue to offer the same prizes to people who submit newly-found America the Beautiful quarters of subsequent designs from the West Point Mint. 

To generate public interest in numismatics, the U.S. Mint is producing at its West Point facility 2 million each of all five America the Beautiful quarters that will be released in 2019. The West Point Mint is traditionally used for minting bullion coins and some commemorative coins, and other special collector coins offered at premium prices. 

These “circulating rarities” have created quite a buzz in the numismatic community, and discovery of more “first” West Point quarter dollars is widely anticipated.

This article was updated on April 12 to include information about the winners of the PCGS reward.

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