The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 16, April 21, 2019, Article 14


Vic Mason of Mamaroneck, NY submitted these nice comments on an earlier E-Sylum  article about the U.S. Mint's plan to intentionally manufacture rarities to stimulate collecting. -Editor

Earlier I had responded to, and praised, the account of Patrick Heller who attended the 17 October 2018 forum in Washington, DC, about future US Mint activities with David Ryder. You published my response one week later. That forum was the occasion when Mr. Ryder first raised the idea of minting a circulating rarity for this year. Many proposals had come up at the forum about how to try to make coin collecting more interesting for young people.

You commented about how to effectively implement such a program and distribute the new circulating rarity at the end of our exchange.

Here's the remark Vic is referring to, followed by his further commentary. -Editor

"I agree that the magic of the proposal is in relatively rare business-strike coins released to circulation. The 50 State Quarter Series was a great boon to collecting in this country, but it checked only two of those boxes - the coins are not rare, and after the initial public frenzy, premiums over face evaporated. A coin of 1909-S VDB rarity (common in absolute terms at nearly half a million, but rare in relation to its peers) would far more likely develop and retain a premium.

"The devil is always in the details of implementation. Where in the supply chain would the coins be introduced? If mixed into bins at the Mints there could be multiple points where "the big boys" could purchase supplies in bulk and find the coins before the public does; there would also be no guarantee of even nationwide geographical distribution, as the majority would naturally flow to population centers due to the needs of daily commerce; and in a recession the coins could pile up in warehouses until needed again.

"At the other end of the supply pipeline are bank branches and retail establishments. A "coin drop" style program could ensure wide distribution but requires an army of foot soldiers, each one of whom could succumb to the temptation of palming a few rarities.

"So what's the answer? Perhaps a trusted team within the Federal Reserve could insert the coins into the commerce stream in each of the twelve districts. But regardless of the implementation plan chosen, I think it's a concept well worth trying. -Editor"

2019-america-the-beautiful-quarters-W Congratulations on having the United States Mint follow your idea about distributing the new “W” quarters nationwide via all the Federal Reserve banks and then via numerous sub-district banks. Paul Gilkes's page 1 article in the 22 April 2019 edition of Coin World, entitled “Five West Point Mint Quarters Planned,” lays out the plan of the Mint to maximize fairness in the random geographical distribution of those ten million 2019 quarters on five new national-park themes.

It appears that the first two “W” quarters are being mixed into bags of only brand-new coins. That is making it relatively easy for sharp-eyed collectors (or bank employees and their friends?) to cherry-pick the “W” quarters from the bags of new coins. Coin World reports this week that the new “W” quarters are already being offered on eBay for up to $75 and $100 each. I believe the Mint will learn from this experimental distribution plan for the first two 2019 quarter designs that it will have to dilute the next three “W” releases into a much larger used-coin population, in order to prevent the widespread and over-rapid cherry-picking of the new “W” quarters from circulation. That could be laborious and time-consuming but it's necessary. The hunt for the new scarce coins should be more like searching for a needle in a haystack than like shooting fish in a barrel.

But the distribution plan for the first two new “W” quarter designs is valuable for kicking off, with a bang, the promise of US Mint Director David Ryder last year to put new rarities into circulation this year. Kudos to Mr. Ryder for thinking like a coin collector in understanding that the excitement and passion of American coin-collecting (and stamp-collecting) has always been about finding treasures in the marketplace costing the small collector little or nothing. That's how generations of American kids and their parents, most of them poor but ambitious, got hooked on those two wonderful hobbies over the past two centuries.

I hope this great new program launched under Mr. Ryder's wise leadership leads to a rebirth of interest in coin-collecting by American families, especially in renewed curiosity by the American public for (1) accumulating affordable sets of old type coins, (2) founding new coin shops nationwide, and (3) expanding current coin clubs and founding new ones. I would expect that there will soon be a sharp uptick (a boom?) in attendance at coin shows everywhere as bright-eyed school kids -- the intended beneficiaries -- tug their parents into places bubbling with energy and enthusiasm over the Mint's new-coin program. That can only be good for the fortunes of many coin dealers.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Thanks, Vic. I'm not sure I can really take credit for the Mint's ultimate action, but we do have readers at the Mint and on the Citizen's Coinage Advisory Committee. I'm also not sure if the specific Coin World article Vic mentions is online, but here's a related article from April 19, 2019. -Editor

The surprise announcement on April 2 by United States Mint officials that the West Point Mint was striking 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars for circulation caught many collectors off guard, though officials last year had publicly discussed the possibility of “circulating rarities” for the new year.

The first coins are already in circulation and are being found by collectors and dealers, and some of these first pieces are bringing substantial premiums.

The 2019-W quarter dollars will be available only in circulation quality and all will be released into circulation through Federal Reserve Banks.

Future West Point Mint releases will also be mixed with the coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.

To read the complete article, see:
Collectors start finding 2019-W quarters, and some are profiting (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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