Seeing that there have been West Point Lincoln Cents and Washington Quarters released in 2019, I thought it would be interesting to talk about that Mint Branch.
Back in 2017, I visited the Philadelphia Mint Building and got to see the history of US coins, but there is a mint closer to me than Philadelphia. Being from New England, I’m only 3 hours away from West Point, NY. The West Point mint is not as well-known as the other current mint branches, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. After all, it has only been a mint branch since 1988.
West Point is known for its military academy which has been there since 1802, but even before that was the treasonous act done by General Benedict Arnold who attempted to give the site to the British in 1780. It was the perfect military site along the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War.
From Depository to Mint Branch
West Point would initially be a silver bullion depository for the US government in 1938. As a result, it has been known as the “Fort Knox of silver”. Though it is located in West Point, NY, it is not affiliated with the West Point Military Academy. Almost $300 million of silver bullion was sent to numerous countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Saudi Arabia.
Supposedly, between 1974 and 1986, some Lincoln Cents were minted at West Point as well as Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. I haven’t yet found anything where you can determine which ones were minted there as there is no known way to distinguish ones minted at West Point. They had no mint mark like the ones that were minted at Philadelphia. If anyone knows to distinguish between Philadelphia and West Point cents, let me know.
By 1980, West Point would start gold metal production. They would house $20 million in gold making them the second largest gold storage facility in the United States, after Fort Knox.
The first coins released in West Point were in 1983 with the $10 Gold Commemoratives for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Since then, many other commemoratives have been released from there. Since then, West Point has helped produce many commemorative coins.
The West Point Bullion Depository would become the West Point Mint on March 31, 1988. West Point would be the fourth modern US Mint Branch along with Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver.
Going Beyond Commemoratives
In 1995, West Point would expand beyond Commemoratives by minting Bullion Coins. The US Mint released a 10th Anniversary American Eagle Five Coin Set (American Eagle Silver Dollar and American Eagle Gold 1/10th ounce, 1/4 ounce, 1/2 ounce, and 1 ounce coins). This set made the 1995-W American Eagle Silver Dollar the key date of the set with only 30,125 minted.
The 1996 US Mint Set would include an Uncirculated 1996-W Roosevelt Dime to celebrate the Roosevelt Dimes 50th anniversary. This would be the first regular issue US coin with a “W” mint mark.
In 2000, the first US bimetallic coin was produced there for the Library of Congress Commemorative.
2001 would begin seeing American Eagle Silver Dollar Proofs minted in West Point. This mint branch also minted burnished dollars in certain years as well as a 2013-W Reverse Proof. West Point would also mint the four American Eagle and American Buffalo Gold coins.
West Point would be the first to mint American Eagle Platinum coins in 1997 and American Eagle Palladium coins in 2017.
This mint branch would also begin to mint modern coinage. They include:
- 2019-W Proof included in the 2019 Proof Set
- 2019-W Reverse Proof included in the 2019 Silver Proof Set
- 2019-W Uncirculated included in the 2019 Mint Set
- 2020-W Proof included in the 2020 Proof Set
- 2020-W Reverse Proof included in the 2020 Silver Proof Set
- NOTE: A 2020-W Uncirculated was to be included in the 2020 Mint Set, but because of Covid-19 and the reduction of employees, none were minted.
- 1996-W Uncirculated included in the 1996 Mint Set
- All 5 2019 and 2020 America the Beautiful Quarters – Only 2,000,000 of each will be released in circulation
Kennedy Half Dollar
- 2014-W Reverse Proof included in the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar set
- 2014-W Gold Proof
- 2015-W Enhanced Uncirculated included in the 2015 Sacagawea Coin and Currency Set
Unfortunately, There Are No Tours
Though I’ve driven by it, I could not view the inside of the building. As I am writing this, there are no tours there. I guess it’s understandable with all of the gold and silver there. It would be almost like visiting Fort Knox. I think if they ever decided to start a tour there, I would make an effort to go, seeing that I’m only a few hours away. How about you? Would you visit the West Point branch?
One group was able to go inside, the publication CoinNews.net in 2014. They were able to photograph over 3,500 gold bars.
Do you have any coins from West Point? Maybe you’ll find one of those 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters “W” mint mark, or maybe get one or all 3 of the 2019 Collector Sets with a West Point Cent.