Guide to Quarters Values
Bust quarters come in many varieties due to the individuality of dies, which were often handmade. High-quality surviving specimens are rare. Read More
The Liberty Seated design ran for many years, through some of the most turbulent times in American history. Many variants exist for collectors. Read More
The Standing Liberty design was part of the Roosevelt-led push for more aesthetically pleasing U.S. coinage. Read More
Quarters are the largest U.S. coin still in common circulation. They have a long history as a U.S. minted coin. The current Washington portrait on the front of the quarter has been there since 1932 as one of the long-running classic obverses of American coinage, and it’s bridged the transition from Silver to cupro-nickel after 1964.
Quarters are some of the more collectible modern issues due to the variety of special series the U.S. Mint has put into circulation. These include the state quarters, D.C. and territory quarters and the America the Beautiful series.
The earliest quarters are the Bust variants, the Draped and Capped Bust. These featured a picture of Liberty, the first with the fabric of her dress more draped. The second had a cap. The Draped version had two major reverse designs, one with a smaller eagle and the other with a larger heraldic shield. The Draped with the small eagle reverse only ran in 1796, and when it returned it had the heraldic eagle from 1804 to 1807. The Capped ran from 1815 through 1838 with minor changes over the course of its run. These issues are hard to find and very sought after and expensive in higher conditions, particularly the Draped Bust.
The Liberty Seated design, like several other early American coin designs, was used across several coins. It was used on the quarter from 1838 to 1891. The design went through slight modifications as the Silver content in the coins changed. In 1837, 1853 and 1873 weights were changed to bring the coin’s Silver value in line with its face value, and small design elements in the quarter were used to indicate that in some years close to those changes. Pieces in high condition grades and from smaller mints are higher value to collectors.
The Barber design came next from 1892 to 1916. Barber quarters are also known as Liberty Head quarters. These had relatively high mintages, though mintages that weren’t from the main Philadelphia mint carry a premium for their smaller numbers. The design is utilitarian, as all Barber designs were, given his interest in coins as an engraver more than as an artist. They held up to wear well, but uncirculated versions still command a premium.
The Standing Liberty design had a short production run of only 1916 to 1930, but they are considered one of the most beautiful quarters ever struck. Collectors love these due to the short time they were made and the quality of the artwork. Rare dates and mint marks go for a premium, with the “S” being the most coveted. Key dates are fairly common.
The obverse for our current quarter began in 1932 when the Washington quarter was first struck. Today we still have the same portrait of Washington on the front, though the back has been through some changes. The coin’s reverse was originally an eagle over olive branches, but a Bicentennial version was struck with a unique reverse in 1975 and 1976 before reverting to the original reverse. From 1999 to 2008 the Mint struck the 50 States series, which had all the states individually on the reverse of the coin. This was followed by the D.C. and U.S. Territories series in 2009, then the America the Beautiful series from 2010 to 2021. These series are popular entry points for young people just getting into collecting.
Early quarters, as with all early American coinage, are highly prized. Draped and Capped Bust quarters have several key dates and any higher-grade specimens (particularly for the Draped Bust) are prized. Liberty Seated has some key dates and mint marks. Barber quarters have a good survival rate but high condition pieces will still command a premium.
The Standing Liberty’s short production run and unique artwork make them a coveted series, and key dates and mint marks are relatively common compared to the pool of coins that were struck. “S” versions struck at the San Francisco mint have a much higher premium than most, as they are very rare.
Washington quarters are not as collectible as the other series outside of a couple of key dates and uncirculated versions. Older pre-1964 coins usually do not have a lot of premium except for errors, and are often sold as part of 90% Silver coin bags for their bullion content.
The Price Guide
The PCGS Price Guide prices apply only to PCGS-graded coins. The PCGS Price Guide is a guide to assist the coin buying public in determining values for all important United States rare coins. The prices listed in the PCGS Price Guide are average dealer asking prices for PCGS-graded coins. The prices are compiled from various sources including dealer ads in trade papers, dealer fixed price lists and website offerings, significant auctions, and activity at major coin shows.Learn More