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The Ultimate Guide to Collecting the Most Valuable Washington Quarters

As a lifelong coin collector and numismatic expert, I‘ve had the privilege of handling some of the rarest and most valuable Washington quarters in existence. These classic silver coins, first minted in 1932 to honor the bicentennial of George Washington‘s birth, are among the most popular U.S. series for collectors of all levels.

While most Washington quarters you‘ll find in circulation are worth only their face value of 25 cents, some scarce dates and varieties can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars in pristine condition. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my knowledge and experience to help you understand what makes certain Washington quarters so valuable, how to identify them, and strategies for building a top-notch collection of your own.

A Brief History of the Washington Quarter

The Washington quarter was born out of the Treasury Department‘s search for a replacement for the Standing Liberty quarter, which had been in circulation since 1916. Sculptor John Flanagan‘s winning design featured a left-facing portrait of George Washington on the obverse, with an eagle and the legends "United States of America" and "Quarter Dollar" on the reverse.

The first Washington quarters were struck in 1932, the 200th anniversary of the first president‘s birth. Initially intended as a one-year commemorative issue, the coins proved so popular with the public that Congress authorized their continued production as a permanent replacement for the Standing Liberty quarter.

From 1932 to 1964, Washington quarters were composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, with a diameter of 24.3 mm and weight of 6.25 grams. Rising silver prices in the mid-1960s led to a switch to the current copper-nickel clad composition starting in 1965.

Over the decades, the Washington quarter has undergone several design changes and special commemorative issues, including:

  • The 1975-1976 Bicentennial reverse honoring the 200th anniversary of American independence
  • The 50 State Quarters Program from 1999-2008, featuring unique reverse designs for each U.S. state
  • The America the Beautiful Quarters series from 2010-2021, showcasing national parks and historic sites
  • The American Women Quarters Program from 2022-2025, celebrating the achievements of notable women in U.S. history

With over 90 years of continuous production and numerous varieties, the Washington quarter series offers a rich collecting field for numismatists of all interests and budgets. But what are the most valuable issues, and how much are they worth? Let‘s dive into the data.

The 25 Most Valuable Washington Quarters

Based on auction records and price guide data, here are the top 25 most valuable Washington quarters, listed by date, mintmark, variety, and grade:

Rank Date Mintmark Variety Grade Auction Record
1 1932-D D Regular Issue MS68 $143,750
2 1932-S S Regular Issue MS66 $29,900
3 1934 P Doubled Die Obverse MS65 $28,200
4 1937 P Doubled Die Obverse PR66 $20,700
5 1950-D/S D/S RPM FS-511 MS66 $16,800
6 1943 P Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $15,275
7 1942-D D Doubled Die Reverse MS66 $12,650
8 1949-S S Regular Issue MS68 $11,163
9 1939 P Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $10,281
10 1941 P Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $9,400
11 1944 P Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $8,519
12 1942 P Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $7,800
13 1936 P Doubled Die Obverse MS66 $7,475
14 1940-D D Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $7,200
15 1943-D D Regular Issue MS68 $6,463
16 1935 P Doubled Die Reverse MS67 $6,325
17 1936-S S Regular Issue MS67 $6,038
18 1953 P Doubled Die Obverse MS66 $5,500
19 1942-S S Regular Issue MS67+ $5,463
20 1960-D D Doubled Die Reverse MS67 $5,100
21 1932 P Regular Issue MS67 $4,993
22 1943-S S Doubled Die Obverse MS67 $4,888
23 1946-S/S S/S RPM FS-512 MS67 $4,700
24 1937-D D Regular Issue MS67+ $4,313
25 1932 P Doubled Die Obverse MS64 $4,025

Note: "P" indicates the Philadelphia Mint (no mintmark). RPM = Repunched Mintmark.

As you can see, the most valuable Washington quarters tend to fall into three main categories:

  1. Key dates and mintmarks, like the 1932-D and 1932-S
  2. Scarce varieties like doubled dies and repunched mintmarks
  3. High-grade examples (MS66 to MS68) of otherwise common issues

Of course, this is just a small sampling of the valuable coins in the series. There are hundreds of other scarce dates, errors, and condition rarities that command significant premiums over common quarters in circulated grades.

What Makes Washington Quarters Valuable?

Several key factors determine the value of a particular Washington quarter:


In general, quarters with lower mintages are more valuable than those struck in larger quantities. The 1932-D and 1932-S, for example, have the lowest mintages of the series at 436,800 and 408,000, respectively. Compare that to the 1965 clad quarter, which saw over 1.8 billion pieces struck between the Philadelphia and Denver mints!


A coin‘s grade has a huge impact on its value, especially for rare dates and varieties. Quarters that grade MS66 or higher by PCGS or NGC standards are considered condition rarities and can be worth many multiples of the same date in MS60-MS63.

Consider the 1949-S, a common date in circulated grades but a significant rarity in superb gem condition. The lone MS68 example, the finest known, sold for over $11,000 in 2016.

Errors and Varieties

Mint errors and die varieties like doubled dies, repunched mintmarks, off-center strikes, and planchet flaws can dramatically increase a Washington quarter‘s value. Error collectors prize these coins for their scarcity, visual appeal, and insight into the minting process.

Some of the most popular and valuable Washington quarter varieties include:

  • 1934 Doubled Die Obverse: Bold doubling visible on the date and lettering. Only a handful of mint state examples known, with the finest graded MS65 by PCGS.

  • 1937 Doubled Die Obverse: Significant doubling on the date, lettering, and Washington‘s hair. Extremely rare in proof condition, with just 6 graded PR66 by PCGS.

  • 1950-D/S Repunched Mintmark: The Denver "D" mintmark was first punched too high, then corrected with an "S" punch. Fewer than 100 examples known in all grades.

  • 1942-D Doubled Die Reverse: Distinct doubling visible on the eagle‘s wing feathers and lettering. One of the scarcest doubled dies of the series in high grade.

Collectors who specialize in these error coins are always on the hunt for new examples, driving strong demand and high prices for the rarest finds.

Silver Content

From 1932 to 1964, Washington quarters were struck in a 90% silver composition. With the price of silver hovering around $25 per ounce as of 2023, each of these quarters contains nearly $4.50 worth of pure silver.

While most circulated silver quarters are worth only their bullion value, high-grade examples of scarce dates can command significant numismatic premiums over their melt value. Collectors prize these coins for their beauty, historical significance, and tangible precious metal content.

Building a Valuable Washington Quarter Collection

Whether you‘re a beginning collector or a seasoned numismatist, there are many ways to approach collecting Washington quarters. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Focus on a specific subset of the series, such as a particular mintmark, year range, or variety type. For example, you could aim to assemble a complete date-and-mintmark set of 1930s quarters, or collect only doubled die varieties.

  2. Emphasize quality over quantity. Rather than buying every quarter you come across, save up for high-grade examples of the dates and varieties that most interest you. A single gem 1932-D quarter is worth more than a shoebox full of worn, common pieces!

  3. Study the series in depth. Invest in authoritative reference books, price guides, and error attribution guides to deepen your knowledge and hone your eye for rare and valuable quarters. The more you know, the better you‘ll be at cherrypicking undervalued coins and avoiding overpriced pieces.

  4. Get your coins authenticated and graded by a reputable third-party service. PCGS and NGC are the market leaders, and their certified holders and labels add confidence and value to your collection. Grading also helps protect your coins from wear, damage, and counterfeiting.

  5. Be patient and diligent. Assembling a top-notch collection of rare Washington quarters can take years or even decades of searching and saving. But the thrill of finally acquiring that long-sought key date or variety makes all the effort worthwhile!

Whether you‘re hunting for the elusive 1932-D in gem condition or just appreciate the timeless beauty of a well-struck silver quarter, collecting Washington quarters can be an endlessly rewarding pursuit. With knowledge, patience, and a discerning eye, you can build a collection that will be the envy of your numismatic peers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What‘s the most valuable Washington quarter?

The 1932-D is considered the key to the series, with a mintage of just 436,800. A specimen graded MS68 by PCGS sold for $143,750 in 2008, the highest price ever paid for a Washington quarter.

Q: How much are silver Washington quarters worth?

With silver around $25 per ounce, each 90% silver Washington quarter struck from 1932-1964 has a melt value of roughly $4.50. Circulated common dates are worth only slightly more, while better dates and mint state examples can be worth significantly more.

Q: What are the rarest Washington quarter varieties?

Some of the most sought-after Washington quarter varieties include the 1934 and 1937 doubled dies, the 1950-D/S repunched mintmark, and the 1942-D doubled die reverse. Other scarce varieties include the "Bugs Bunny" die cracks on certain 1954-S quarters and the 1943 "Doubled Eye" obverse.

Q: Are any Washington quarters struck after 1964 valuable?

While the vast majority of clad Washington quarters struck from 1965 to the present are worth only face value, there are a few notable exceptions. The 1982 and 1983 quarters with strong doubling on Washington‘s eyelid can be worth hundreds of dollars in uncirculated condition. The 2004-D Wisconsin quarter with an extra leaf on the corn can fetch over $100 in gem grades.

Q: How can I tell if my Washington quarter is valuable?

Start by examining the date, mintmark, and overall condition of the coin. Quarters from the 1930s and early 1940s in uncirculated condition are more likely to be valuable than later dates or circulated pieces. Look for signs of doubling, repunched mintmarks, or other errors that could indicate a scarce variety. When in doubt, consult a price guide or have your coin evaluated by a knowledgeable dealer or grading service.


Collecting Washington quarters can be a fascinating and rewarding hobby for numismatists of all levels. With a rich history spanning over 90 years and countless rare dates, varieties, and errors, this beloved series offers endless opportunities for discovery and appreciation.

By understanding the factors that make certain quarters valuable, such as mintage, condition, variety, and silver content, you can sharpen your skills, refine your focus, and set clear goals to guide your collecting journey. Whether you‘re hunting for elusive key dates like the 1932-D and 1932-S or studying the nuances of doubled die varieties, the pursuit of knowledge and the thrill of the chase are what make this hobby so endlessly captivating.

As you build your collection, remember to buy the best quality you can afford, study your coins closely, and seek out the advice and expertise of fellow collectors and dealers. With patience, persistence, and a passion for these timeless artifacts of American history, you can assemble a collection of Washington quarters that will be cherished for generations to come.

Happy collecting!