Washington Quarters: History, Composition, Errors, and Value
Although the last twelve years have marked great change for the Washington quarter, many people are still surprised to hear that the design is the second longest continuously minted denomination. In fact, the Washington quarter is second only to the Lincoln penny.
This long history is good for collectors and coin enthusiasts, as there are many key date Washington quarters of great value! Covered in this article is a brief history of the quarter, a breakdown of its metal compositions, and a list of valuable Washington quarters. Whip out your coin collection, sit back, and learn more about this quarter. You never know what you might have!
History of the Washington Quarter
- As a replacement for the Standing Liberty Quarter and to celebrate George Washington’s 200th anniversary of birth, the Washington Quarter made its circulation debut in 1932.
- Originally, the quarters were minted with a 90% Silver composition and a mint mark that could be found on the reverse below the eagle and wreaths. The silver coinage continued for thirty two years before the composition was changed to a Copper/Nickel clad.
- In 1968, the mintmark was moved to the obverse, appearing to the right of Washington’s ribbon.
- From 1965–1998, there were rather few changes to the quarter’s design with the exception of a few die modifications and the 1976 Bicentennial design. As with the Kennedy Half Dollar and the Eisenhower Dollar, the Washington Quarter was also used to celebrate the bicentennial year of the United States in 1976. The bicentennial design featured a Colonial Drummer on the reverse and dual 1776-1976 dating on the obverse.
- After the bicentennial year, the regular eagle reverse resumed. It paused again in 1999 when the Statehood Quarter program began production. With the completion of the state quarters in 2009, the US Mint began work on its current “America the Beautiful” Washington quarters.
Did You Know?
Most Washington quarters are worth only their Melt value. Even the bicentennial quarter value is little more than its value in metal. The exceptions are Key date quarters and High Grading coins.
Composition and Melt Values
- · Weight: 6.25 Grams
- · Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
- · Melt Value: $7.28
- · Weight: 5.67 Grams
- · Metal Composition: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel
- · Melt Value: $0.06
Value of Washington Quarters
Unlike the Roosevelt Dime and Jefferson Nickel mintages, there are many key date Washington quarters of great value. Since this quarter was struck in 90% Silver for over 30 years, it has gained much popularity with coin collectors. For this reason, it’s becoming ever hard to find these Silver quarter specimens in circulation, but you never know when you’ll be graced to find one in your pocket!
Key Date Washington Quarters
- 1932D: Known as the ultimate Key Date Washington Quarter. Values can range from $100 in G-4 condition to thousands of dollars in Mint State conditions.
- 1932S: Key Date with only 408,000 minted. Values can range from $75 in G-4 condition to thousands in Mint State.
- 1934D: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in G-4 condition to several hundred dollars in higher conditions.
- 1935D: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in VG-8 to several hundred dollars in higher conditions.
- 1935S: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in VG-8 to a few hundred dollars in high grades.
- 1936D: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in VG-8 to around $200 in high grades.
- 1937S: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in F-12 condition to around $200 in Mint State.
- 1938S: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in VF condition to around $200 in Mint State.
- 1939S: Semi key date. Values range from $10 in VF condition to around $100 for a Mint State specimen.
Washington Quarter Errors
- 1934: Double Die Error. Values range from $75 in G-4 condition up to thousands in Mint State.
- 1937: Double Die Obverse. Values range from $100 in VF to a couple thousand in Mint State.
- 1942D: Double Die Obverse. Values range from $400 in EF-40 condition to a couple thousand.
- 1943: Double Die Obverse. Values range $100 in VF condition to around $1000 in Mint State.
- 1943S: Double Die Obverse. Values range from $50 in VF condition up to over $1000 in Mint State.
- 1950D: D over S mintmark. Values range from $50 in VF condition up to a couple thousand in Mint State.
- 1950S: S over D mintmark. Values range from $50 in VF condition up to a $1000 in Mint State.
There's a lot of value locked away in the history of the Washington quarter—that is, if you can get your hands on one. Thank you for reading my article on Washington quarter values. If you've thoroughly enjoyed this article, please have a look through some of my other articles about quarters: