The History of the Iconic Washington Quarter
First struck in 1932 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, the 90% silver Washington quarter replaced the Standing Liberty Quarter as the United States Mint’s 25-cent piece. The quarter’s original design was created by John Flanagan, a sculptor from New York, whose design was chosen as the contest winner by the US Treasury Department from more than 100 presented entries.
In 1932, quarter production was limited due to the Great Depression, and the Mint did not make any during 1933. Over time, these quarters have been produced by the Denver Mint, the Philadelphia Mint, and the San Francisco Mint.
Designs & Uniqueness
On the obverse of Flanagan’s design, Washington faces left and is based on a sculpture of Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon. The reverse depicts an eagle holding arrows and olive branches. It featured the same design through 1974, but the eagle on the coin’s reverse was replaced with a colonial drummer in 1975 and 1976 to commemorate the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. Following 1998, the eagle was no longer used on the reverse.
From 1999 onwards, various celebratory designs were featured on the coin’s reverse to honor American regions, locations, and territories — namely 2010-2021’s America the Beautiful quarter series.
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Which Washington quarters are valuable?
Quarters minted in 1932 and 1964 are 90% silver, making them highly sought after for their silver value. The early years of the Washington Quarter from 1930-1940 in Mint State condition are sought after and can be very valuable in a high grade. The more modern 1983-P Washington quarter is rare in high uncirculated condition.
What are key dates for Washington quarters?
These quarters debuted in circulation in 1932, and were later modified in 1999 for the launch of the 50 State Quarters. While most of this coin’s regular issues are common, some key dates include the scarce 1932-D and 1932-S, the double die obverse 1937, 1943, and 1942-D, the 1950-D D over S, and the 1950-S S over D.
What are the different Washington quarter obverse design changes?
The quarter underwent five obverse design changes from 1932 to 2010. The first three versions feature the text “IN GOD WE TRUST” to the left of Washington’s neck, while the later two versions feature the text “LIBERTY” in the same position and “IN GOD WE TRUST” to the right of Washington’s neck. While version one (produced until 1964) did not include a Mint mark, Mint marks were included on versions post-1967 and are found on the lower right to the right of Washington’s neck. Adaptations of Washington’s bust vary in each version.