2019 was an exciting year for coin collectors thanks to a mix of firsts from the United States Mint, commemorations of major anniversaries, and unique issues from abroad. Some of these coins are fascinating because of their numismatic significance, while others mark major historical events. A few even evoke powerful emotions from those who lived through the events commemorated, as well as those who take the time to consider what it must have been like to do so. This article will highlight some of the most impressive 2019 coins.
Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Coins
The most significant of the 2019 issued marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The mission landed man on the moon for the first time, both marking a major Cold War Space Race victory for the United States and forever expanding what man believes is possible.
The United States Mint marked the occasion with a mix of gold, silver, and clad Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative coins. The coins were just the second ever domed issues from the mint. All of them shared the same designs, one of Neil Armstrong standing on the moon next to the American flag as reflected in Buzz Aldrin’s helmet and the other a single footprint on the lunar surface, a simple yet powerful symbol of one of the greatest achievements in human history.
The United States Mint was not alone in commemorating the event. Here at GovMint.com we were proud to offer these striking Robbins Medals as our exclusives. These medals were finished with a solution that included alloy that was flown into space on an Apollo mission. For most collectors, this is the closest connection they will ever have to the universe beyond Earth. The medals combined the mission patch design with the names and dates of the mission. Mints from around the world shared in the celebration. Significant international issues include those from Australia, Canada, and Switzerland.
Pride of Two Nations Coin Set
Beyond the United States Mint’s Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative issues, the highlight of 2019 was without doubt the Pride of Two Nations Coin Set. Honoring the designs of America’s and Canada’s iconic bullion coins, the set marked several firsts, any one of which would be enough by itself to mark this an amazing addition to any collection.
The set was the first ever collaboration between the United States Mint Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint and marked the first time that the US Mint ever issued a bilingual certificate of authenticity (English and French). Both coins in the set were also firsts. It was the first ever Enhanced Proof Silver Eagle and the first ever Modified Proof Silver Maple Leaf. The set has surely already taken pride of place in countless collections. To read more about this historic release read this Coin Authority article.
First “W” Mint Marked Pennies, and Quarters
As important as 2019 was for the US Mint writ large, it was especially important for the West Point Mint, which offered not one but two firsts of its own. To bring the hobby of coin collecting to the general public, and to give hobbyists the opportunity to enjoy a coin hunt, the US Mint struck the first-ever circulated quarters to bear the West Point Mint’s “W” mint mark. Two million of each of the five 2019 America the Beautiful issues were struck with the mark, and all of them were released directly into circulation. Many of these coins remain in circulation just waiting to be found, though those that have already passed through many hands are likely not to be in as good a condition as those that have already been identified and graded.
Circulated quarters weren’t the only coins to bear the “W” mint mark for the first time in 2019. Although pennies had been struck at the facility previously, 2019 saw the first ever to be struck with the “W.” Three different versions of the cent were struck with the mint mark, and each one was issued as a bonus with a different Proof or Mint set from the US Mint. A standard proof was issued with the US Mint Proof Set, a reverse proof with the Silver Proof Set, and an uncirculated piece with the Uncirculated US Mint Set.
World Mint Coin Release Roundup
Some of the most significant issues of 2019 came from the US Mint, but mints around the world released some major issues of their own. Germany’s Mayer Mint, for example, struck gold and silver guitar pick-shaped coins for the Cook Islands. The British Royal Mint struck a four-piece Tower of London Series in silver and cupro-nickel to celebrate the iconic landmark. Finally, the Austrian Mint marked its 825th anniversary with a three-piece silver set, which includes a piece for Robin Hood.