The United States Mint is randomly issuing rare and valuable quarter dollars into circulation this year. The coins are found in regular pocket change and can be worth hundreds of dollars each, according to the senior editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins, the best-selling price guide on American coinage.
Only 2 million of each of the five 2019 quarter dollars will feature the “W” mintmark of the famous West Point Mint, known as the “Fort Knox of Silver” because of its precious-metal vaults. Although this might seem like a lot of coins, it represents only 1 out of every 200 or so 2019 quarters. They are being distributed to banks and financial institutions through the Federal Reserve system, mixed in with their more common Philadelphia Mint and Denver Mint counterparts.
“If the Guide Book went to press today, we would list the coins around $25 each in average Mint State condition, based on feedback from coin dealers around the country,” said Jeff Garrett, senior editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins. “Higher-grade ‘gem’ examples have sold for hundreds of dollars.” Garrett estimates that demand for the coins will rise as more and more collectors need them to complete their collections.
The 2019-W quarters will be featured in next year’s edition of the Guide Book. By that time their market prices should be well established, according to Garrett.
“These are the first and only modern rarities deliberately placed into circulation by the Mint,” said Q. David Bowers, the Guide Book’s research editor. “Most 2019 quarters struck for day-to-day commerce will be made at the Philadelphia and Denver mints. Last year nearly 2 billion quarters were struck in total. The West Point mintages are truly small in comparison.”
In total, a maximum of only 10 million West Point Mint quarters will reach circulation, or about 1 coin for every 33 U.S. citizens. They include 2 million each of the Lowell National Historical Park quarter, the American Memorial Park quarter, the War in the Pacific National Historical Park quarter, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park quarter, and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness quarter. All are dated 2019, and the rare West Point coins have a distinct “W” mintmark below the legend IN GOD WE TRUST.
The Guide Book of United States Coins, popularly known as the “Red Book” for its cover color, has been published since 1946, with more than 24 million copies in print. Coin collectors consider it “the Bible of the hobby.” The 73rd edition is available now, online and at booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, in formats including hardcover, softcover, spiralbound, and Large Print.