No good deed goes unpunished.
The U.S. Mint may be reaching that conclusion with the release of the first two of its three 2019-W Lincoln cents being offered as premiums to customers purchasing specific annual sets.
Collectors are returning many of the bonus coins along with the sets to receive replacements because the West Point Mint cents exhibit problems.
First, orange-colored blemishes were appearing in the field and on the rim on the obverse of an unknown number of Proof 2019-W Lincoln cents.
The Proof cents are the bonus with purchase of the 10-coin 2019-S Proof set.
Now, collectors are reporting quality control problems with the Reverse Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent, an example of which is provided with each 10-coin 2019-S Silver Proof set.
California collector Steven Haynes reports the Reverse Proof 2019-W Lincoln cent he received with the Silver Proof set he ordered exhibits what appears to be tarnish along the obverse rim at the 7 o’clock position.
On the reverse, rustlike damage extends from the A in STATES, through UNITED, and down beyond the ribbon bearing ONE CENT on the shield, ending below the point of the shield at the 6 o’clock position.
U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said May 1 that Mint technical personnel would have to physically examine the damaged coins to determine the exact cause.
The dilemma that collectors like Haynes are experiencing is that, to receive a replacement for the damaged bonus cent, at their own expense they must return the entire Proof set along with the bonus cent, even though the superior quality of the set’s coins struck at the San Francisco Mint are not in question.
However, while some collectors are having to return the sets and cents at their own expense, other collectors have reported securing a postage paid label from the Mint to return their 10-coin sets with the premium Lincoln cents.
The U.S. Mint is paying to ship the replacement coin sets and bonus cents.
Mint customers also must return the sets and cents within the standard seven-day return period.
One more West Point Mint cent is scheduled to be released this year.
Each 20-coin 2019 Uncirculated Mint set that is ordered beginning May 14 is to be accompanied by a 2019-W Lincoln cent with an Uncirculated finish. The Uncirculated Mint set contains 10 coins each struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.
First, not first
The 2019-W Lincoln cents struck with three different finishes are the first cents produced at the West Point Mint bearing the facility’s W Mint mark. However, they are not the first Lincoln cents struck at that facility
During periods of high demand for circulation coinage in the 1970s and 1980s, the West Point Mint was called upon to strike several denominations of U.S. coins, without Mint marks. The facility struck Lincoln cents for general circulation during that period of time, but none carried a Mint mark. These coins are identical to the Lincoln cents of the same dates struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and to circulation strikes struck at the San Francisco Mint (then officially designated as an Assay Office) also without Mint marks.
The West Point Mint also struck Washington quarter dollars in certain years, all without Mint marks.