Quarters : Washington Quarter : Type 1, Silver

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Obverse of 1938 Washington Quarter Dollar Reverse of 1938 Washington Quarter Dollar

Ron Guth: The Washington Quarter Dollar of 1932 was originally intended to be a commemorative coin to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth.  It would have been the second Quartrer Dollar commemorative (the first was the Isabella Quarter Dollar of 1893).  The coin proved so popular that the design was continued as a regular-issue for circulation beginning in 1934.

Until 1964, the Washington Quarter Dollar was made of 90% silver, after which the alloy became outer layers of copper-nickel over a core of pure copper.

Washington Quarter Dollars were struck for circulation at Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.  Proof versions were struck exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint.  Key dates in the series include the 1932-D and S, plus the 1936-D.  Major varieties include Heavy, Medium, and Light Mottos of 1934, several Doubled Die Obverses, and some Over-Mintmark varieties (click on the "Date, MM, and Major Variety" tab to see a complete listing).

In circulated condition, this series is easy to complete and relatively reasonable in price.  Most of the coins are directly affected by the price of silver, so values fluctuate up and down based on the current silver price.  Whenever the silver price becomes excessive, most of the coins lose their collector premium, and millions have been melted down over the years for their silver content.  In Uncirculated condition, several dates, including the afore-mentioned key dates, become very valuable.  Numerous dates are excessively rare in top grades even though they are common in lower grades.

The Proof silver versions of the 1992-1998 Washington Quarter Dollars are included here because of their identical design and metal content.