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Did You Know That the West Point Mintmark First Appeared on a $10 Commemorative Gold Coin in 1984?

The West Point Bullion Depository commenced coining operations in the 1970s, but its mintmark would not appear on a coin until 1984, before the facility was officially designated a United States branch mint in 1988. The debut of the facility’s “W” mintmark was on a $10 gold commemorative coin honoring the Olympics that took place in Los Angeles in 1984. As the facility gradually expanded its coining repertoire, the mintmark appeared on a wider selection of coins.

In the early 1970s, the West Point Bullion Depository began striking Lincoln cents to supplement the business strike coins being produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints. The coins did not bear mintmarks, to prevent hoarding and ensure uniformity. Later in the decade the facility struck Washington quarters.

After a 28-year hiatus, the U.S. Mint again began producing commemorative coinage in 1982. The 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles provided an event worth commemorating and U.S. Public Law 97-220 granted the Mint authority to produce silver dollars bearing two different designs and a gold $10 coin. A much more ambitious program was initially proposed.

Both denominations and all three designs were produced in uncirculated and Proof finishes at the Philadelphia, Denver and West Point mints. Only a fraction of the total authorized mintages was ever produced. The gold issue was the first legal-tender gold coins produced by the Mint since 1933 and 573,364 were reported struck, the majority of which are Proof coins struck at West Point.

West Point’s mintmark has appeared many more times on bullion and commemorative coins, as well as some base metal, business strike coins beginning in the 1990s. A Proof 1995 American Silver Eagle is the key date of that series, included in a gold and silver Proof Set commemorating the 10th anniversary of the American Eagle bullion series that was produced in very limited quantities. The next year, the West Point Mint struck a dime for inclusion in Mint Sets marking the Roosevelt design’s 50th anniversary.

The late 2010s and early 2020s have seen renewed production of both circulating and commemorative coinage with the “W” mintmark. In 2019, two million of each of the five America the Beautiful quarters were struck at West Point and put into circulation as part of the Great American Coin Hunt (repeated in 2020). Proof and Reverse Proof 2019 Lincoln cents were produced there and Proof Jefferson nickels with both finishes followed in 2020.

1984-W $10 Olympic commemorative gold coins appear fairly regularly in Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ auctions, especially our weekly Precious Metals Auctions, to learn more about the Olympic commemorative coins or to view lots and bid, please visit our website.

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