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How to select the right silver Washington quarter for your collection

The silver Washington quarters saw two very distinct and well known eras in U.S. history; The Great Depression and World War II. These events drove a need for both heavy usage and high mintage for the quarter dollar, but each at different times. Being able to sift through all the available coins from these time periods to select the right one for your collection can be tricky

1932 pcgs ms67

The Great Depression & High Usage

From 1932 to 1941 mintages were relatively low, but usage (using the coin to purchase) was heavy. The coins them selves did not get refreshed with new issues from the mint as much as they did in later years. Its also know that the mint did not produce many coins during this time. In fact, no quarters were even produced with the year 1933 on them.

In 1932 twenty five cents was the equivalent of almost 5 bucks today. That was a lot of value to just place in a coin folder's hole for collection's sake. Money was tight and it got spent. So, while there are plenty of examples of each year and mint mark form this period available to collect today, the majority of the coins from these years are very, very worn; there aren't many in mint state and if you find one that looks mint state, check it again for cleaning, whizzing or light to medium wear.

WWI & High Mintages

1942 through 1944 saw the highest mintages of the Washington quarter until the highest mintages of the 1960s. By 1943 a wartime economy was in full swing and there was a need for high mintages of the Washington quarter to sustain coin supplies for commerce.

This means that today there are plenty of coins from this time period available for collecting. However, In the furry to produce the numbers of quarters needed for these years, coin dies were pushed well beyond their maximum life expectancy, and in some case the mint re-used older dies for cost saving measures. This meant that there were a lot of coins produced with really poor strikes. So, although these coins were not as heavily used as the coins from thirties, well worn dies, mush strikes, and high mintage numbers mean that finding a higher grade, well struck coin can be tough.

Condition is Key

All this makes the higher grade, mint state issues quite pricey form these time periods. But, if you can stretch your budget to purchase higher grade mint state examples, your collection will be better off for it.

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Did You Know?

1932 D reverse 1The reverse hub of the 1932 quarter was never used again. Click here to read about this and more!