Treasure in Your Pocket Change
Have you been checking your pocket change? In 2019 the U.S. Mint started a new program for quarters. They launched a limited amount of America the Beautiful quarters with the “W” mint mark into circulation – a first for the U.S. Mint in 227 years of minting coins! In 2020 West Point Mint is following suit and minting more W Quarters! And there is an additional feature added to the 2020 W Quarters which I explain in detail later in the newsletter!
While West Point has produced quarters in the past, they didn’t have a mint mark and could not be differentiated from Philadelphia quarters.
To create excitement, the US Mint introduced these coins into circulation, allowing anyone the opportunity to collect the quarters from their pocket change. They did not make them available to dealers or anyone else, unless they go through their change!
In 2019, the West Point Mint struck 10 million W Quarters that were mixed into bulk bags of quarters at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. In early April 2019, the first of the W mint mark quarters were shipped and distributed to banks and financial institutions by the Federal Reserve. The coins are again being distributed in this fashion in 2020. The first two W Quarters will be American Samoa and Weir Farm. Their official release date is 6 April 2020, according to Todd Martin of the U.S. Mint!
History of Mint Marks
Since 1838, the Mint has issued coins with mint marks, which identify the facility that struck the coin. The most common mint marks are a “P”, which denotes coins made in Philadelphia or “D” for coins made in Denver. Typically, circulating coins are made in Philadelphia or Denver.
The two other mint marks currently in use are an “S” for coins struck in San Francisco and a “W” for coins produced at West Point. The San Francisco and West Point Mints primarily produce proof, commemorative, and/or bullion coins.
For more on this, see the article by the US Mint in the References section below.
What is a Privy Mark?
Historically, when an individual or a mint made coins, they would put a small mark on it to indicate that it was their work. AND, it would help to prevent counterfeiting.
In the old days, “Privy” meant something that related to one person only.
A “Mark” is a name, logo, or other indicator used to indicate ownership, origin, or level of quality.
From these two words we get a specialized definition that relates to coins. A “Privy Mark” was a small mark or differentiation in the design of a coin for the purpose of identifying the mint, person who made the coin, some other aspect of the coin’s origin.
Currently, in 2020, the US Mint is putting a privy mark on the W Quarter. Note that this is in addition to the “W” mint mark. The privy mark is a small symbol with the inscription “V75” in it. The “V” stands for “Victory” in World War II. The “75” stands for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of World War II.
For more on the 2020 Privy Mark, see the COIN WORLD articles in the References section below.
Sweetening the Deal
The Professional Coin Grading Service, known as PCGS, is hosting a Coin Quest contest. Coin enthusiasts are encouraged to send in the earliest, highest grade examples of 2020 coins. Sending the coins into them for grading also enters you into a competition for a cash prize.
“At PCGS, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to promote our hobby and inspire collectors to check their change,” says PCGS President Brett Charville
“The earlier these coins are found, the better chance of finding a rare circulated high-grade example. All collectors who complete PCGS Coin Quest 2020 by April 30, 2020 in the PCGS Set Registry will be entered into a random drawing for a prize of $2,000. And those who have a particularly competitive edge have something else at stake – the collector with the highest-graded set will receive $2,500!” ~ PCGS
There is also an “Early Find” label which can be gotten when the coin is graded and slabbed, also offered by PCGS. “The Early Find special label defines the 45-day period that begins after the first example of each coin arrives at PCGS for authentication and grading.”
Learn more about the Coin Quest contest and the Early Find label by clicking HERE!
US Mint – Mint Releases First Ever W Quarters Into Circulation
Coin World – Adding V75 privy mark means 2020-W quarter for American Samoa will be released last
Coin World – U.S. Mint details distribution for first two 2020-W quarter dollars
PCGS – A New Coin Quest Has Arrived
Wikipedia – West Point Mint
Collins Dictionary – Privy Definition (British English version of the word)
The Free Dictionary by Farlex – Mark (Fourth definition down, see 2. a.)
Wikipedia – Privy mark
YouTube – West Point Quarters B-Roll