The quarter dollar coin has been part of the American economy since 1796. In total, there have been six unique and distinct designs for the coin spanning more than 225 years and until 1964, all of the quarters in circulation were minted from 90% silver.
Draped Bust Quarters (1796-1807): These were among the first quarters minted in the U.S., designed by Mint engraver Robert Scot. They featured a portrait of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle on the reverse. These quarters were composed of 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper.
Capped Bust Quarters (1815-1838): The design was changed to a Liberty with a cap on her head. The composition remained the same as the Draped Bust quarters.
Seated Liberty Quarters (1838-1891): The design again changed to depict Liberty seated on a rock, holding a shield and a flag. The composition remained the same.
Barber Quarters (1892-1916): These quarters were designed by Charles E. Barber, the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. They featured a profile of Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. The silver composition was slightly increased to 90% silver and 10% copper.
Standing Liberty Quarters (1916-1930): Designed by Hermon A. MacNeil, these quarters featured a standing Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle in flight on the reverse. The composition remained 90% silver and 10% copper.
Washington Quarters (1932-1964): The design switched to a profile of George Washington on the obverse. From 1932 to 1964, these quarters were composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. Starting in 1965, due to rising silver prices, the Mint changed the composition to copper-nickel clad.
Special issue quarters, such as the Bicentennial Quarter were minted in 1976, and the State Quarters Silver Proof Coin series (1999-2008), were also minted with a 90% silver composition. Silver quarters with errors, such as double dies, planchet errors, or other anomalies, can be highly sought after by collectors. Some rare quarters from various years and mintmarks had low mintage figures, making them much more valuable than the face value.
Coin collectors and numismatists are passionate about silver quarters because there are so many unique variations of designs, assortment of mint marks and valuable error coins that can be found when buying lots of junk silver quarters. A complete set of Washington silver quarters contains over 80 coins including mint mark and date combinations, more than $20 face value! Die variations and error coins add even more to collect.
Various collector albums are available from Dansco and Whitman that provide a great way to learn about the history and all of the variations available in twenty-five-cent coins while building a useful store of value.
Investors appreciate the simplicity of investing in 90% junk silver because it is a practical investment that is always in demand. With regard to premiums, 90% silver coins have appreciated a considerable amount in recent years and is now trading above spot silver price. 90% silver quarters remain one of the cheapest, low premium options when shopping for precious metals.
There are various key dates for the Washington Quarter series that are considered rare and can be extremely valuable, even in circulated condition. For example, during the first year of issue, Washington Quarters were minted in relatively low numbers.
Rarity alone is not always enough; collectors typically look for well-preserved examples. Proof coins are struck with special care for collectors. Certain proof silver quarters from specific years and mintmarks can be rare and valuable. If you suspect you have a rare silver quarter, it's a good idea to have it appraised by a professional coin dealer or numismatist to determine its value and authenticity.
The Draped Bust Quarter is particularly valued by collectors due to its age, rarity, and historical significance. These silver quarters were minted from 1796 to 1807 and are composed of 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper, as was a standard alloy for U.S. silver coins at the time. The copper is intended to add durability to the coins, as silver is a relatively soft metal.
The Draped Bust design was created by the Mint's first chief engraver, Robert Scot and features a right-facing portrait of Lady Liberty on the obverse. The reverse shows a heraldic eagle which was inspired by the Great Seal of the United States. The design was used on half cents, cents, half dimes, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars during this period.
The design was changed in 1815 to a Liberty with a cap on her head. The composition remained the same as the Draped Bust quarters. This design was issued by the Mint until 1838 and is attributed to German-born engraver named John Reich.
Reich's design of the obverse side of the Capped Bust Quarter features a profile image of Liberty facing left wearing a Phrygian cap that symbolizes freedom upon her head. The Phrygian cap is why it is referred to as "Capped Bust." The image is surrounded by thirteen stars, representing the original thirteen colonies, with the date below.
The reverse side of the Capped Bust Quarter features a heraldic eagle design that includes the eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows in its talons. The eagle is encircled with an inscription for "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and the coin's denomination "25 C."
The Capped Bust design is known for its neoclassical style and was also used on half-dimes, dimes, half dollars, and silver dollars during this era.
The Seated Liberty Quarter was minted from 1838 to 1891. The coin's design was created by Christian Gobrecht, who was the third Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. The design was shared across most American silver coins during this period and are now prized by collectors for their age, historical significance, and beautiful design.
The obverse side of the coin features Lady Liberty seated on a rock and holding a shield with her right hand and a pole with a liberty cap on top in her left hand. Her shield is inscribed with the word "LIBERTY" and she is surrounded by thirteen stars, representing the original thirteen colonies. The year of minting is shown in the center below.
The reverse side features an eagle with outstretched wings, that is clutching both a bundle arrows and an olive branch, symbols of war and peace. Above the eagle is a banner with the country's name, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," and below the eagle is the coin's denomination, "QUAR. DOL."
The design underwent several minor changes over the years, including the addition of rays around the eagle (only in 1853), the size and position of the date, and other design details.
The Seated Liberty design was replaced with the Barber design in 1892.
Designed by Chief Mint Engraver Charles Barber, the design was issued by the US Mint from 1892 until 1916. The design is often referred to as the Liberty Head Quarter, with a design on the obverse that show a head-and-shoulders depiction of Lady Liberty, facing right while dressed in a Phrygian cap and laurel wreath. The coin is part of the "Barber Coinage," a series of coins that also included a dime and half dollar featuring the same design.
The reverse side of the coin features a heraldic eagle, similar to the one found on the Great Seal of the United States, clutching both an olive branch and a bundle of arrows, representing peace and war. Inscriptions are include above the eagle for the country's name, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," and below is the denomination, "QUARTER DOLLAR."
Like other coins in the series, the Barber quarter was minted at four different mints, with each location designated by the mintmark: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D), San Francisco (S), and New Orleans (O).
Silver quarter mintages were inconsistent throughout these years. The mint mark can significantly affect the rarity and value of a Barber Quarter. For example, the 1901-S and 1913-S Barber Quarters are considered among the rarest and most valuable in the series due to their low mintage numbers.
Designed by Hermon A. MacNeil, these quarters feature a standing Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle in flight on the reverse. Millions of these coins were minted and it is very common to find them amongst the lots being sold by bullion dealers, both online and in traditional shops.
Many of the standing liberty quarters were minted with a weak edge that led to accelerated wear and tear leading to slick coins with many having partial or missing dates. It should be considered that in typical $10 Face Value lots, a stack of standing liberty quarters will be noticeably shorter when stacked side-by-side quarters in uncirculated condition.
When shopping for junk silver, dateless slick standing liberty silver quarters will often have the lowest premium over the spot price of silver.
The obverse design was changed to a profile of George Washington was designed by John Flanagan and introduced in 1932. Flanagan's design was based on a 1786 bust of Washington that was sculpted by French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon.
The reverse originally depicted a bald eagle with wings spread until 1999 when the US Mint introduced the State Quarter series.
From 1932 to 1964, these quarters were composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. Starting in 1965, due to rising silver prices, the Mint changed the composition to copper-nickel clad.
Junk Silver Washington Quarters are the most popular with investors and stackers because they often have the least amount of silver loss that occurs naturally over time when coins are circulated. It is very common to come across silver quarters from 1964 that are still in Brilliant Uncirculated condition when buying junk silver face value lots. Some dealers offer full bank rolls of 1964 junk silver quarters that can provide the best value for investors and stackers.
Special issue silver quarters, such as the Proof Bicentennial Quarter (minted in 1976) and the Proof State Quarters series (1999-2008) and other special collectors' editions.
Quarters that were minted in the United States prior to 1965 were made of alloy that contained 90% silver. While many of these historic coins have been melted down into bullion, millions have survived the smelting. Although each coin was minted with 5.625 grams of silver, most online bullion dealers use an estimate of 0.17875 troy ounces for each to adjust for minor variances in weight of circulated coins. These coins are often referred to as Junk Silver because they often have little to no numismatic value in circulated condition. The worth of these coins is based on the intrinsic value of the metals.
So, $1 face value of pre-1965 U.S. quarters contains approximately 0.715 troy ounces of silver. It's worth noting that circulation can vary and some dealers may include coins with partial dates in some lots. The worth of face value lots of silver quarters fluctuates based on the current price of silver. Shop and compare to find which online bullion dealer has the cheapest price for 90% junk silver quarters.
Pre-1965 silver quarters are long believed to be a reliable store of value for investors looking for a low-cost investment. These quarters have a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper, sometimes referred to as coin silver. The intrinsic value of the silver content can make these coins a good hedge against inflation or economic uncertainty, as precious metals most often retain their value over time relative to economic conditions.
Older silver quarters, particularly those in good condition or with rare mint marks or other features of interest can also have significant numismatic value to collectors even in circulated condition, adding to their worth above and beyond the raw silver value.
Because of their small size, junk silver quarters can be used to store a relatively small amount of physical wealth. This makes them one of the most liquid physical assets which can be useful if you ever want to sell only a portion of your precious metals holdings.
90% Silver quarters are instantly recognizable and accepted as holding intrinsic value enabling easier barter transactions in a crisis situation.
FindBullionPrices.com compares prices from trusted and reputable online precious metals dealers to help you find the lowest premiums on Silver Quarters. The prices on our site are updated hourly and adjusted for silver spot price, providing the tools to compare silver prices.
We help find the cheapest Silver Quarters when you're ready to buy.
You can find a large variety of silver coins at FindBullionPrices.com. If we don't list prices for something you're looking for Contact Us and let us know so we can add it.
We compare prices of Silver Quarters from top-rated and trusted bullion dealers. Our product listings compare the online prices to help you buy the cheapest Silver Quarters.