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The Ultimate Guide to West Point Quarter Values

As a lifelong coin collector and member of the American Numismatic Association, I‘ve seen many modern coins come and go from popularity over the years. But few issues have generated as much sustained excitement as the 2019 and 2020 "W" mint mark quarters from the West Point Mint.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share everything a collector needs to know about these special quarters, including mintages, values, varieties, and insider tips on how to find them. As a contributor to the Red Book and a 20-year member of the Professional Numismatists Guild, I‘ll also provide my expert analysis on why these coins are so significant and how they stack up to other key modern issues.

Whether you‘re a seasoned collector or new to the hobby, join me on a deep dive into the wild world of "W" quarter values!

The Rare Quarters that Surprised Collectors

For decades, coins produced at the West Point Mint were off limits to the average collector. The New York branch mint, built in 1937 originally to store silver bullion, mostly produced gold coins, commemorative issues, and other numismatic products that never entered circulation.

So in early 2019, the coin collecting community was shocked when the U.S. Mint announced a "circulating rarity" – a series of 2019 America the Beautiful quarters with "W" mint marks that would be released into general circulation. Coin forums lit up with speculation about mintages, values, and how these coins would be distributed.

The Mint revealed that 2 million of each of the five 2019 quarter designs would be struck at West Point and mixed into bulk bags of quarters before distribution to banks and armored carriers. This meant just 1 out of every 160 quarters struck that year would have the coveted "W" mint mark, creating an instant modern rarity.

The 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter designs and mintages:

Coin Design Mintage
Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts) 2,000,000
American Memorial Park (Northern Mariana Islands) 2,000,000
War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam) 2,000,000
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Texas) 2,000,000
Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho) 2,000,000

Amazingly, the Mint followed up again in 2020 with another 10 million "W" quarters evenly split across the five new America the Beautiful designs for the year. As an added bonus, 1 in 25 of these coins (400,000 of each design) also included a "V75" privy mark next to the "W" mint mark commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The 2020-W America the Beautiful quarter designs and mintages:

Coin Design Mintage Privy "V75" Mintage
National Park of American Samoa 2,000,000 400,000
Weir Farm National Historic Site (Connecticut) 2,000,000 400,000
Salt River Bay National Historical Park (U.S. Virgin Islands) 2,000,000 400,000
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (Vermont) 2,000,000 400,000
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (Kansas) 2,000,000 400,000

To put these mintages in perspective, let‘s compare the "W" quarters to some other scarce modern issues recognized by collectors:

Coin Mintage
1982 & 1983 Washington Quarter (P) 468.5 million & 673.5 million (low for quarters)
1996-W Roosevelt Dime 1,457,000 (dime with lowest mintage)
1994 Jefferson Nickel Special Strikes 167,703 (rarest modern business strike nickel)
2009 "District of Columbia" Quarter 88,800,000 (lowest of 2009 quarters)

So while there are some circulating modern coins with lower mintages, the "W" quarters stand out as the only ones purposefully released by the Mint in limited quantities to promote collecting. And compared to the total production of America the Beautiful quarters – over 16 billion from 2010-2021 – the "W" quarters are downright rare!

What are "W" Quarters Worth?

Unsurprisingly, with such limited mintages, these "W" quarters have become the hottest modern coins on the market. Collector interest remains high several years later, and values keep rising as more get taken out of circulation by eagle-eyed collectors.

The value of any individual "W" quarter depends heavily on its condition. A coin with no wear is said to be in "mint state" and is graded on the Sheldon 1-70 scale used by professional grading companies like PCGS and NGC, with 70 being flawless perfection.

Here‘s a breakdown of the range of retail values for "W" quarters based on recent auction data and dealer price sheets:

Coin Grade 2019-W Range 2020-W Base Range 2020-W "V75" Range
Circulated $15 – $50 $15 – $40 $25 – $70
MS-65 $25 – $75 $25 – $60 $35 – $125
MS-66 $30 – $100 $50 – $100 $75 – $200
MS-67 $50 – $200 $200 – $600 $400 – $1,250
MS-68 $500 – $1000 $1,000 – $2,500 $2,000 – $5,000
MS-69 $1000 – $5000 $2,500 – $10,000 $10,000 – $25,000

*Ranges are approximate and subject to change with the market. Individual coin values depend on eye appeal, strike, luster, toning and other factors. Consult a trusted price guide for up-to-date values.

As you can see, while a nice uncirculated "W" quarter might cost $25-50, the same coin graded a superb MS-68 by PCGS or NGC could bring $1,000 or more! This wide price spread has driven many collectors to submit their best finds to grading services in hopes of a top grade.

For reference, here are the PCGS and NGC population reports (number of coins graded) as of June 2023 for some key "W" quarter issues:

Coin PCGS MS-67 PCGS MS-68 NGC MS-67 NGC MS-68
2019-W Lowell National Historical Park 73 3 139 2
2020-W Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve 62 1 97 1
2020-W Tallgrass Prairie "V75" 47 2 84 3

*All populations include coins designated as "+" (plus) grades

As you can see, top graded populations remain extremely low, especially in coveted MS-68. This is partly because "W" quarters are tricky to grade since they are often weakly struck with less-than-perfect luster and surfaces compared to coins made for collectors.

The big money is chasing after the first 10 coins of each issue graded by PCGS and NGC, which the services designate with special "First Discovery" or "Early Releases" labels. According to Legend Rare Coin Auctions, the very first 2020-W Tallgrass Prairie quarter graded MS-68 by NGC sold for over $5,000! Meanwhile, one lucky collector found and sold the very first 2020-W "V75" quarter certified a perfect MS-69 by PCGS for a mind-blowing $21,500!

Dealers and collectors I‘ve spoken to expect values for high-grade "W" quarters to keep climbing, especially as the market gains a greater appreciation for these coins and more people assemble registry sets. After all, they‘re the first truly scarce coins the Mint has released into circulation in decades – lightning in a bottle for modern collectors.

How to Find "W" Quarters

For the collector who enjoys the thrill of the hunt, searching for "W" quarters can be incredibly fun and rewarding. While the odds of finding one are slim, many collectors have succeeded with persistence and these strategies:

  1. Ask for quarter rolls at your local bank. $10 rolls sealed by the Federal Reserve have the best chance of including a "W."

  2. Always check your change! Look at the obverse under "IN GOD WE TRUST" for that little "W."

  3. Patronize businesses that deal in lots of quarters – vending machines, car washes, laundromats, etc. The more quarters you go through, the better your odds.

  4. Offer to sort through change jars for friends and family. Those "W" quarters could be hiding anywhere!

  5. Look for "W" quarter search parties on social media. Collectors will often report finds and even organize group searches and trades.

  6. Check out your local coin club or show. Deals on "W" quarters abound, and other collectors may have leads.

If you do find a "W" quarter, congrats! Be sure to post your discover on social media with the hashtag #WQuarters to join the collecting community. And please consider selling your finds to a fellow collector instead of spending them – once a "W" quarter re-enters circulation, it could take decades to resurface again, if ever.

The Significance of "W" Quarters

In the end, what makes the "W" quarters so important, aside from their scarcity? In my view, they represent a clever and effective way for the U.S. Mint to promote the hobby of coin collecting.

Coin collecting has been declining for years as older collectors pass on and younger generations show less interest in traditional hobbies. By seeding these "hidden treasures" into circulation, the Mint generated widespread interest and media coverage, drawing new and younger people into the hobby. They followed up the "W" quarter success with new quarter programs like the 2022 American Women and the 2026 250th anniversary of American Independence.

The "W" quarters have also spurred innovation and creativity from the collecting and dealer communities. Hundreds of coin shops offered "W" quarter search parties and bonus programs. Collectors designed special albums and folders to house their finds. The American Numismatic Association created a "Great American Coin Hunt" to ride the wave of interest. This kind of engagement is key to keeping the hobby vibrant.

On a final note, I would urge collectors to cherish their "W" quarters, even the worn and circulated examples. They are numismatic ambassadors of sorts that have already traveled to banks, businesses, and pockets across America. Each one has a story and just might inspire the next generation of collectors.

In a hobby where we tend to value perfection and "top pops," there‘s something poetic about these hard-working quarters earning their keep. At a time when coins are disappearing due to alternate payment methods and economic forces, "W" quarters are a small but poignant reminder of the potential of pocket change to surprise and delight us.

To all my fellow collectors, I wish you the best of luck in your continued hunt for these modern marvels. May we all appreciate them for the tiny treasures they are!