The 1981 Quarter was acquired by Parzival after completing a perfect game of Pac-Man on Archaide. The quarter was visible on the Pac-Man machine prior to completing the game, but it could not be moved, picked up, or inspected. After Parzival completes the perfect game, the quarter unglues itself from the game cabinet, tumbles forward, and becomes an overworld item that can be picked up. However, it was not possible to remove the item from an avatar's inventory, nor would it be possible to cast any divination spells on it.
The artifact is a one-time item that grants its wielder an "extra life", in which they are revived immediately after a fatal attack. Their avatar will still die, but instead of being presented with "GAME OVER", an avatar will see "Congratulations, [AVATAR NAME]! You have an extra life!" The avatar will then be regenerated in the exact place that they died in, retaining their statistics and ability scores but losing all items with the exception of the quarter. After the quarter is used, it becomes a normal quarter and loses any magical properties.
1981, the year the quarter was minted, is the same year Pac-Man was released.
The book incorrectly gives the year Pac-man was released as 1981. Pac-Man was released in 1980.