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A (subtle) Change in your Change

By Charles Apple The Spokesman-Review

Coming soon, to your pocket: Quarters with a tiny “W” on them. This denotes they were created at the U.S. Mint facility in West Point, N.Y. The Mint says these new “W” coins are a limited edition — only 10 million will be made. This is about 1% of the quarters made this year.

The U.S. Mints and their marks

Use of mint marks on U.S. coins has always been a bit spotty. For many years, Philadelphia was the only mint, so no marks were needed. A law passed in 1965 resulted in no coins issued in 1965, 66 or 67 would have mint marks.

Philadelphia

Mint opened: March 1793

Made coins for general circulation.

Status:

Still in use today.

Mark:

A “P” mark was used on nickels during World War II. It wasn’t until 1979 and the Susan B. Anthony dollar that “P” marks were commonly used.

Dahlonega, Ga.

Mint opened: Feb. 12, 1838

Made only $1, $2.50, $3 and $5 gold coins

Closed:

in 1861 at start of Civil War.

Mark:

Most coins made here had a "D" mark.

Charlotte

Mint opened: March 27, 1838

Made only $1, $2.50 and $5 gold coins

Closed:

in 1861 at start of Civil War.

Mark:

Most coins made here had a "C" mark.

New Orleans

Mint opened: May 8, 1838

Made gold and silver coins

Closed:

in 1861 at start of Civil War. Reopened in 1878, then closed for good in 1942.

Mark:

Most coins made here had an "O" mark.

San Francisco

Mint opened: April 3, 1854

Made coins for general circulation.

Status:

Still in use today.

Mark:

Most coins made here through 1975 had an "S" mark. Only proof coins made there now carry a mark.

Carson City

Mint opened: Feb. 11, 1870

Made mostly silver and a few gold coins

Closed:

1899.

Mark:

Most coins made here had a "CC" mark.

Denver

Mint opened: March 12, 1906

Made coins for general circulation.

Status:

Still in use today. This mint is the world's largest producer of coins.

Mark:

Most coins made here have had a "D" mark.

Manila

Mint opened: July 15, 1920

Made only one-centavo coins

Closed:

1922.

Mark:

No coins made here had marks.

West Point, N.Y.

Mint opened: July 29, 1974

Was opened to ease a coin shortage.

Status:

Still in use today.

Mark:

Except for proof coin sets and a 1984 gold Olympic commemorative coin, no coins made here have had marks ... until now.

Quarter production by the decade

Quarters Through History

Barber Quarter front

1892-1916

Collectors call this the Barber Quarter because it was one of several coins designed by Charles E. Barber in an effort to modernize U.S. coinage.

Standing Liberty Quarter front

1916-1930

The original design featured a bare-breasted Liberty. That was changed to one in which she’s wearing chain mail.

Washington Quarter front

1932-present

In honor of George Washington’s 200th birthday, the quarter was redesigned with a portrait of the nation’s first president on the front and an eagle on the back. With small adjustments, the front design is still used today.

Bicentennial Quarter reverse

1975-76

For many years, the U.S. Mint — which has sometimes strugged to keep up with the demand for coins — opposed issuing commemorative coinage. That opposition dissolved with the commemorative Bicentennial coins of the 1970s, which proved to be popular.

Washington State Quarter reverse

1999-2008

Beginning in 1999, the Mint began producing quarters commemorating states of the union on the reverse side, in place of the usual American eagle. Five states were honored each year for 10 years. After that, a series of quarters commemorated various U.S. territories.

Olympic National Park Quarter reverse

2010-2021

This program proved so popular that it was expanded in 2010 to honor a site “of natural or historic significance” in each state. This program will continue through 2021. The Secretary of the Treasury is already authorized to continue the “America the Beautiful” quarters through another round.