The Washington silver quarter is one of the most well known silver coins in all of U.S. mint history. That’s not shocking considering George Washington was the 1st president of the United States and beloved by the people due to his actions in the American Revolutionary War.
Celebrating George Washington’s 200 Anniversary
In 1931, the United States Treasury sought a way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. The decision was made to honor the nation’s first president with a commemorative coin, and the design competition was launched. Sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser’s depiction of Washington on horseback would be the design that ultimately won.
Designing The Washington Quarter
Fraser’s design, featured on the obverse, portrays Washington in a bold and commanding pose. The reverse displays an eagle with outstretched wings, representing the United States. The coin is inscribed with the words “United States of America,” “Quarter Dollar,” and “Liberty.”
At the time, it was common to use 90 percent silver in American coinage, Washington quarters would be no different. These quarters were unique in that they were composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, reflecting a nod to traditional coinage materials. The decision to use silver was significant, adding both historical resonance and intrinsic value to the coins.
Minting Silver Washington Quarters
The George Washington Silver Quarters were minted at three locations: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The coins from each mint were marked with a mintmark—P for Philadelphia, D for Denver, and S for San Francisco. This minting process allowed collectors to seek out specific editions, adding an element of rarity to the series.
To ensure the commemorative nature of these quarters, the U.S. Mint limited the production to the year 1932, with additional minting in 1934 and 1936 to meet demand. The limited mintage makes these coins highly sought after by collectors, and their scarcity continues to contribute to their value.
1932 Washington Silver Quarter Mintage
- Philadelphia (no mintmark): 5,404,000
- Denver (D mintmark): 436,800
- San Francisco (S mintmark): 1,509,000
1934 Washington Silver Quarter Mintage
- Philadelphia (no mintmark): 6,002,000
- Denver (D mintmark): 1,362,000
- San Francisco (S mintmark): 1,016,000
1936 Washington Silver Quarter Mintage
- Philadelphia (no mintmark): 5,005,000
- Denver (D mintmark): 2,644,000
- San Francisco (S mintmark): 3,837,000
Washington Silver Quarter Values
With only a mintage of 436,800, the 1932-D Washington Silver Quarter is one of the best dates in the series. High grade 1932-D Washington Quarters can sell for hundreds of dollars. Any of the silver quarter from 1932-1936 can hold a premium in great condition. The 1934 Washington Silver Quarter holds one of the highest values for uncirculated grades.
With the current value of silver, all silver George Washington quarters are worth around $7-$8 dollars a piece, even in low grades.
Beyond their aesthetic appeal, George Washington Silver Quarters hold significant numismatic value. Collectors covet these coins not only for their historical importance but also for their rarity and silver content. Over the years, the coins have become prized additions to coin collections, serving as tangible connections to America’s revolutionary roots.
The Legacy Of George Washington
The legacy of the George Washington Silver Quarter extends beyond its initial release. These quarters paved the way for the U.S. Mint’s continued production of commemorative coins, each designed to honor key figures and events in American history. The success of this series influenced subsequent numismatic endeavors, solidifying the role of coins as conduits of national memory.
The George Washington Silver Quarter stands as a testament to the enduring fascination with America’s founding era. From its striking design to its silver composition, this coin encapsulates the spirit of a nation and its veneration for its first president. As these quarters continue to change hands among collectors, their gleam echoes the glories of the past and the enduring legacy of George Washington.
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