It’s easy to make coin collecting make sense to the uninitiated.
Collectors and speculators place a premium value on specific rare coins (and coin traits) from the long history of coin mintage in the United States and hunt them for purchase wherever they appear.
However, knowing the exact value of a potential rare coin that pops into your ownership is tough if you are not a seasoned coin collector.
First, you have to figure out if your coin truly has a price that is higher than its face value, as only a tiny percentage of the 800 billion+ total coins minted by the U.S. mint since inception meet this requirement.
What is So Special About the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Dollar?
With the 1776 to 1976 quarter, it is not hard to see why any holder will easily assume it might have an inflated value.
The 1776 to 1976 quarter was a special release by the U.S. Mint, designed to celebrate 200 years of American independence (Bicentennial Anniversary) and commemorate that notable anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Hence, the 1776 to 1976 quarter is also known as Bicentennial Quarters.
This coin features a unique design element on its reverse side, sporting the engraving of a military band drummer, with a torch enclosed in a circle of 13 stars.
This peculiar pattern earned the 1776 to 1976 coins the nickname drummer boy quarters or quarter dollar drummer boy.
The 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar also features an engraving on its reverse side of the Latin phrase “E pluribus unum” which translates to “Out of many, one.” “E pluribus unum” is one of the traditional mottos of the United States that also appears on the reverse side of the Great Seal.
This motto appeared on and off various legacy American coins (especially in certain states) until the Fourth Coinage Act of 1873 enforced it as a mainstay on all future United States coins.
Unsurprisingly, many Americans (even those unacquainted with coin collecting) assume that a coin with this history must have some collectibility and consequently should be worth higher than face value.
Even back then, in 1976 (when the U.S. mint minted the 1776 to 1976 quarter), the U.S. mint saw this obvious perceived value as a problem and did its best to curb any potential hoarding of the coins.
To stave off speculators, the issuing body began production a year early (in 1975) and released over 1.6 billion Bicentennial quarters to reduce their collectability and increase the chances of everybody getting their hands on some and enjoying the unique, commemorative design.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Dollar Value
Does that mean you should give up on cashing out big on that odd-looking 1776 to 1976 quarter dollar you found in your grandpa’s box? Not yet. A coin’s auction value stems from much more than its total supply.
Even amongst the 1.6 billion Bicentennial coins minted, there is an abundance of high-value options selling on the market for anywhere from 5 bucks to over a thousand dollars each.
What then is the value of your 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar coin?
The worth of your 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar coin depends largely on the specifics of the coin you have. If it is a regular issue, circulated copper/nickel coin, it’s only worth the face value of 25 cents. A silver-clad version of the coin, an uncirculated coin, or coins with special unique defects is worth considerably more.
Similar to every United States coin or dollar note, there are unique rarely-occurring features that can make peculiar pieces retail significantly higher than their face value.
For example, old coins minted specifically for collectors and never put into general circulation, and hence still retain their original mint quality and condition are typically worth at least 10 times the face value of the coinage.
Another common reason certain coins can auction at prices significantly higher than their face value is when those are limited edition versions minted to commemorate a public figure or an important event. However, while the bicentennial 1776 to 1976 quarter does fall into this category, its massive supply of over 1.6 billion pieces makes the regular coin quite common.
In rare cases, unique defects or variations in features on a coin may occur on a few coins out of the batch of coins produced that year. This dissimilarity from the bulk can make these unique coins extremely sought after. When you combine this increased demand with their acute scarcity, the value of these coins can rise considerably.
These factors can combine to create scenarios where you can have quarter-dollar coins selling at auction for over $4000.
To get a better estimate of the value of your 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar coin, you must first figure out which of the aforementioned variants it belongs to.
1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Variants
The two main variants of the bicentennial quarter coin are a copper/nickel regular clad version and the silver clad version. You can also get either coin in a circulated or uncirculated state. Furthermore, a sizable amount of the coin’s total supply also comes with mint marks identifying its production location.
The Standard Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Circulated
The regular 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar features a copper and nickel composition and is known simply as clad. In its circulated state, without any special defining features, these quarters are equal in worth to their face value of 25 cents and rarely sell for higher.
The Standard Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Uncirculated
While the standard clad coin is only worth $0.25, if you find ones in an uncirculated state, they typically retail for at least five times that price. Uncirculated standard clad bicentennial quarters often sell for around $1-1.25 per coin and often come in packs of multiple coins targeted at the hobbyist coin collector.
Uncirculated quarters are made by the U.S. Mint specifically for coin collectors. Rather than put them in the general supply, these coins are sold packaged in their original mint state and quality directly to coin collectors who buy them at a premium.
Silver Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Circulated
The silver-clad version of the bicentennial quarter dollar comes with a constitution of at least 40% silver makeup. This unique composition already gives it some value as its silver content is already worth around $1.3-$1.5 on the open market.
Consequently, the Silver Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar in its circulated state can easily retail for between $1.5 to $2 per coin.
Silver Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Uncirculated
The value of a Silver Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar in an uncirculated condition depends heavily on the coin’s grade (physical state).
An uncirculated silver-clad bicentennial coin rated a decent MS 63 will easily retail for at least $5. With a similar coin graded MS 65, you can expect a price point of between $6 and $7, while an MS 65 graded coin can easily fetch $9 or more on the open market. However, beyond that, things begin to get outrageous.
Silver Clad 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar in creme de la creme, pristine, uncirculated quality (MS 66 or higher), can sell at auction for anywhere between $200 and $10,000 depending on the subjective evaluation of that particular specimen.
The grading system for coins is a relatively standardized yet fairly subjective scale from 1-70 that measures the aesthetic qualities of a coin specimen. Factors affecting how high a coin score on the scale includes the intensity of its “eye appeal,” its level of luster, and the absence of blemishes, dents, or fading.
Uncirculated coins get the rating of MS 60 and above, while coins with a full, even luster rank between MS 65 and 70.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Dollar (Drummer Boy) Mint Mark Value
Mint marks are used to mark the production facility that made each coin in distribution, and this policy is no different with the bicentennial quarters. You can find two mint marks on 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar coins: S and D.
Plus, a significant portion of the supply comes without any mint marks.
The coins mint mark-free coins come from the minting facility in Philadelphia. The D mint mark represents Denver, while the S mint mark stands for San Francisco.
|Mint Mark||Location||Regular Mint||Proof Coins||Silver Proof Coins|
So, does the mint marks on the bicentennial quarter coin affect value?
The mint marks only affect the price significantly with the proof version of the coinage.
Due to the extreme supply of this coin available for purchase, even the proof versions typically do not attract extravagant prices. The proof versions of these coins typically retail for the same price or slightly higher than the matching regular uncirculated versions of the 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar with no mint marks.
For the estimated value of the proof variants of this coin, see the quoted prices we provided for uncirculated coins in the previous section.
Proof coins are special samples of coins struck specifically to fulfill the demand of coin collectors.
With these coins, the mint takes special care to increase the intensity of the dies so as to produce high-luster coins with smoother, more vibrant designs and more prominent rims.
While “proof coins” and “uncirculated coins” are often used interchangeably, there is one key difference. Proof refers to coins made specially using this aesthetic-intensifying process, while uncirculated coins are all coins preserved in their original mint state, whether they came from the proof production process or not.
1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Errors
Contrary to what you may think, errors are often sought after in coin collecting.
Yes, a regular issue with the coin like scratching, wear, and fade will typically devalue the coin and relegate it to dirt cheap prices. However, unique errors, like a missing letter, a curved element, an unusual color, or any other form of die malfunction during production, may result in a highly valuable coin.
The valuation of a coin’s error is heavily subjective, and it is almost impossible for anyone but a seasoned coin collecting veteran to estimate the value of a coin error before it goes to market.
Similar to most other coins, 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar Error values spread out over a broad spectrum, with sub $100 offerings on eBay on the low end to unique aesthetic bicentennial error coins on the high end like this one that sold for almost $3000
Where to Buy 1776 to 1976 Quarter Dollar (Drummer Boy)
The best places to buy all types of 1776 to 1976 quarter dollar coins are on Amazon and eBay.
On eBay, you can also join competitive auctions for all sorts of coins in this category, including 1776 to 1976 quarter dollar (drummer boy) error coins.
How much is a 1976 quarter worth today?
Like most other coins, the worth of Bicentennial quarters can vary significantly depending on its mint state and unique properties. On average, a mint state silver coin from this batch is worth between $5-8; a non-silver mint state coin goes for under $2, while a circulated piece is typically equal in worth to its face value.
Where is the mint mark on a 1776 to 1976 quarter?
You can always find the mint mark on the lower right of the coin’s obverse side, adjacent to the lower end of Washington’s head. A coin from this batch with no mint mark is made in Philadelphia; coins marked S come from San Francisco, while coins with the letter D come from the Denver mint.
What years of quarters are worth money?
Quarters made in 1964 or older all contain at least 90% silver, making them already worth more than 30 times their face value even before you consider their rarity and other special features.
However, over the years, coins containing any silver have become fewer and farther between, making newer coins typically considerably less valuable.