For the first time ever, the United States Mint at West Point is striking circulating quarters that carry a "W" mint mark. They should begin to appear in circulation within four to six weeks, according to U.S. Mint officials.
These quarters cannot be purchased directly from the U.S. Mint like other numismatic products. Instead, collectors will need to search for them in change.
"We want to encourage Americans to consider coin collecting by making the W mint mark quarters only available in general circulation," said United States Mint Director David Ryder.
Traditionally, circulating coins are made at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints. The pair of facilities strikes them for shipment to Federal Reserve branches where they are distributed to local banks and other financial institutions.
The first batch of West Point Mint quarters were mixed in with Denver- and Philadelphia-struck quarters and shipped April 1.
"The announcement of the W mint mark quarters coincides with the 227th anniversary of the United States Mint on April 2 and kicks off a program designed to spark a renewed interest in coin collecting," the Mint explained. "The release also ties in with the American Numismatic Association’s National Coin Week (April 21-27) and parallels a separate initiative that organizers have dubbed ‘the Great American Coin Hunt’."
In the the Great American Coin Hunt, hundreds of coin dealers around the nation will be placing old coins into circulation.
"We’re fortunate to be able to feature the W mint mark quarters at the same time dealers around the nation are mounting a similar effort to celebrate and promote the hobby of numismatics," Ryder added.
10 Million ‘W’ Mint Mark 2019 Quarters
Equally divided across the five 2019 quarter designs, there will be a combined ten million "W" mint mark quarters made for circulation. They will be issued as part of the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program which celebrates national parks and other national sites in each state, D.C., and U.S. territory.
This year’s quarters honor Lowell National Historic Park in Massachusetts (released Feb. 4), American Memorial Park in Northern Marianas Islands (released April 1), War in the Pacific National Historic Park in Guam (release on June 3), San Antonio Mission National Historical Park in Texas (release on Aug. 26), and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho (release on Nov. 4).
The West Point Mint did produce quarters for circulation from 1977 to 1979. Those, however, do not have mint marks, making them indistinguishable from the ones made in Philadelphia.
In 2018, the U.S. Mint produced over 13.1 billion coins for circulation. More than 1.85 billion of them were quarters with mintages that ranged from 289.6 million to 439.8 million across the five designs. The U.S. Mint is on track to make about the same number of quarters in 2019.
This year, the West Point Mint is also striking three premium Lincoln cents as companion or bonus coins for numismatic sets.