Throughout American and world history, money and currencies have come in different shapes, sizes, designs, and denominations. Even to this day, it is a common practice to update the currency design from time to time, for many valid and interesting reasons. When the national Mint and the government aren’t claiming the safety, security, and prevention of counterfeiting to be the reasons behind design changes, then something else is going on.
In the past few years, people have shared their comments and opinions on social media regarding the recent changes in the designs of the American quarter coins. The most recent of such events regarded the, initially mysterious 2019 edition of a quarter, which now featured a new addition; a letter W. Letters of coins usually indicate the location where the coin was minted, and those locations are either Denver, Philadelphia, or San Francisco.
So, what does the ‘W’ stand for? Answer to this question, and many more, you can find in the following paragraphs. So, without further ado, let’s talk about the 2019-W quarter, and what it really is.
The 2019-W Quarter: How Much Is it Worth Today?
Inception and How It Came To Be?
Have you ever heard of the so-called ATB quarter? If not, don’t worry; many people haven’t. The abbreviation ATB quarter stands for the ‘America the Beautiful Quarters’, which is a program, or initiative, issued by the United States Mint. The program commenced in 2010 and had as a goal to feature five new reverse (back) designs each year on the American quarter.
Now, if you don’t know, the quarter is also referred to as the Washinton Quarter. Since 1932, the quarter featured a portrait image of George Washington, the American Founding Father and one of the most important personalities in American history.
The quarter has undergone several minor changes in the past decades, but nothing like this. For the first time, the quarter will feature a complete change in the reverse coin design, and even the portrait of George Washington himself will now undergo modification, which would continue to happen in 2022, where Washington was right-facing, rather than left-facing (which was yet another shock shared online by social media users).
Nevertheless, the initiative to feature different national parks, historic sites, and national forests on the back of the quarter resonated very well with the public. Unfortunately, this quickly became irrelevant information due to the global events related to the pandemic. Still, the program lasted until 2021, having featured a national park, site, or forest on the reverse of the quarter coin, making sure to have editions and sites/parks included from every single state.
But, What Does the Letter W Stand For?
As we previously mentioned, the quarter, or every coin for that matter, features a year (when it was made), and a letter next to the year, a letter which indicates origin. Traditionally, the majority of the coin has been, and still are minted in one of the three major mints in the country; Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Therefore, the coins can feature the letter D, P, and S, indicating mints in one of the three cities. So, when people noticed the letter W on the 2019 quarter edition, they had questions. But, the answer to the questions is simple.
The 2019-W quarter is the first quarter since 1906 to feature a new mint mark (that was the Denver ‘D’ mint mark in 1906). Now, the letter W indicated a new minting origin, which was the West Point Mint, located near the West Point U.S. Military Academy in New York. The West Point Mint released 2 million quarters featuring the new ‘W’ mint mark into circulation, and people hurled to get their own 2019-W coin for posterity and collection.
But, why did the United States Mint decide to choose a new minting location? Many speculate that the reason for this lies in the distribution and circulation of the new quarters. Instead of having them minted directly at one of the three main locations, as previously mentioned, the U.S. Mint decided to mint the new quarters at West Point. Then, they would have them delivered to Philadelphia and Denver, where the new quarters would mix with the rest of the coins. This would also make the quarters ‘available’ to anyone in the country, which would increase excitement about finding and collecting the quarters right from one’s own pocket change, making them a modern find.
Is The 2019-W Quarter Valuable?
According to the USA Coin Book, the value of the 2019-W quarter has reached approximately 28+ USD for uncirculated or mint condition quarters. Now, depending on the edition of the quarter, meaning the parks/sites/forests/states it features and which are shown and marked on the quarter, the value can vary.
Currently, the highest price offered for a 2019-W coin is 14,900 USD for the 2019-W Lowell quarter of an MS68 grade. Other 2019-W quarter editions can be sold for a couple of thousand dollars (for example, the 2019-W Guam War in Pacific quarter sold for around 3,000 USD), while the standard price for mint condition, uncirculated 2019-W quarters can reach up to 150 USD on online auctions, while many have seen the prices reach even 650 USD.
The value of the 2019-W quarters is expected to rise in the upcoming years, so many refrain from selling their valuable pieces. It has been only 4 years since the quarters have been released into circulation, so it is hard to predict just how much the value/price increase. Following the trend of increased interest in coin collection, paired with unique, and potentially rare quarters, we can only assume that the prices will increase significantly as the years go by.
Interesting Facts About the 2019-W Quarter
Now that we’ve learned more about the mysterious 2019-W quarters, let’s go over some of the most interesting facts regarding this quarter (which you should probably know should you be selling or purchasing the quarter yourself);
- The ‘W’ mint mark on the 2019 quarter makes it rare; it is highly coveted among collectors because of its scarcity, considering only 2 million of these have been released into circulation. This makes it a rather small percentage of the American the Beautiful quarters minted at West Point.
- Even though the 2019-W quarter was released on April 1st, 2019, it was only initially available through a special numismatic product offered by the United States Mint. The product was called the ‘2019 Sant Antonio Missions National Historic Park Quarter, Three-Coin Set‘. The set included one uncirculated coin from the Philadelphia Mint, one from the Denver Mint, and one uncirculated quarter from the West Point Mint. The set/product sold out immediately, and it was only around 10 USD.
- The ‘W’ mint marks are placed below the traditional legend of ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’, and this was the last edition of the quarter where George Washington is facing the left side. Last year, in 2022, a new quarter edition was released, where the George Washington image is right-facing. This is only the second time the U.S. Mint has decided to change the facing sides; the first time they did this was in 1999.
- The United States Mint released 2 million 2019-W quarters into circulated. Though this may seem like a rather high number, it is actually one of the lowest minting numbers in the history of the country. The number shows that there is only 1 of the 2019-W quarter out of every 200 or so 2019 quarters. That is approximately 1 coin per 33 U.S. residents, according to Whitman Publishing.
The U.S. Mint’s decision to release the 2019-W quarter into circulation was met with enthusiasm from collectors and the public alike. Many people saw it as an opportunity to obtain a highly coveted coin at face value, rather than paying inflated prices on the secondary market. The release of the coin into circulation also helped to generate interest in America the Beautiful Quarters Program and the national parks and landmarks its features. Overall, it was a great idea, and an even greater opportunity for coin collectors, numismatists, and coin enthusiasts across the country.
The 2019-W quarter is a reminder of the rich American history as well as the national parks, historic sites, and national forests across the country. It also represents the dedication and hard work of the United States Mint in producing high-quality and beautiful coins for collectors and the public to enjoy. Whether you are a coin enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates beautiful designs, the 2019-W quarter is a must-have addition to any collection.