The 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter is a commemorative coin issued to honor the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence signing. This specially designed coin is valuable to both precious metal collectors (the silver bicentennial quarter) and to numismatists who collect bicentennial coinage. Being a part of a jubilee commemoration the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter is also known as the Bicentennial Washington Quarter.
According to the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC), price guide information, the 1776 to 1976 circulated Bicentennial Quarter value is from $0.30 to $0.85. However, if you check the open market prices, you will see that 1776-1976 D Bicentennial Quarters, in perfect uncirculated condition, can be sold for $7000. The 1776 to 1976-S Bicentennial Quarter in MS69 condition (silver clad issue) reached an even higher value of $19,200 on one of Heritage auctions from June 7, 2019.
To calculate the value of your 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter, you should consider multiple factors like the coin’s history, mintage, condition, and rarity. Maybe the coin is just worth its face value of 25 cents, but maybe it is one of those unique and rare collectible Bicentennial Quarters that are worth hundreds or even thousands. In this article, you will learn more about the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter to establish its value.
History of 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter
It is important to know the historical background of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter to determine its worth. Every commemorative coin, including this one, is closely connected to an important moment in America’s history. Created to commemorate America’s 200th birthday the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter features a unique reverse design and the date “1776–1976” to honor the occasion. The regular 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters were made out of clad structures that contained copper and nickel, while the more valuable ones were made from silver clad.
In 1971, Congress members decided to present bills to approve coins for the United States Bicentennial in 1976. Initially, the U.S. Mint was against this idea, but later on gave it support enabling Congress to pass the legislation requesting a temporary redesign of the quarter, a half dollar, and dollar’s reverse. After a nationwide contest organized by the Treasury, Jack L. Ahr’s American military drummer design was chosen for the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter. To increase public exposure to the patriotic theme of the Bicentennial Quarter, the decision was to make these coins circulating commemoratives.
The Bicentennial Quarter was first struck in 1975, and the mintage continued in 1975 and 1976. The coin carries both dates on its obverse side (1776-1976). There is no coin from the Bicentennial coinage program with a single date. Another important fact is that the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter reverse design replaced the eagle reverse of the Washington Quarter. More than 1.6 billion bicentennial quarters were minted in the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mint. Even though relatively common, the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter became popular among numismatists due to its original design and historical meaning.
Mintage of 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter
The 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter was minted in three different U.S Mint facilities. The standard quarters were minted in the Philadelphia and Denver Mint, and the proof and uncirculated versions were minted in the San Francisco Mint. Even though the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter had high mintage there are still some rare samples like the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter in MS67+ condition, 1776 to 1976-D Bicentennial Quarter in MS68 condition, and 1776 to 1976-S Silver Bicentennial Quarter in MS69 condition.
It is very likely to find a 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter in your pocket change because over one billion coins were produced in the following U.S. Mints:
- 809,784,016 samples of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter were minted in the Philadelphia Mint;
- 860,118,839 samples of the 1776 to 1976-D Bicentennial Quarter were minted in the Denver Mint;
- 7,059,099 samples of the 1776 to 1976-S proof series, 11,000,000 samples of 1776 to 1976-S Silver series, and 4,000,000 of the 1976-S Silver proof series were minted in the San Francisco Mint.
If you compare these mintage quantity data from the Silver recyclers and the ones from the SD Bullion the quantity of produced 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters in the Philadelphia and Denver Mint match. There is only a difference in the number of quarters produced in the San Francisco Mint.
According to the information provided by SD Bullion the San Francisco Mint produced 6,995,180 cupronickel clad proof coins, 3,998,621 silver proof coins, and 4,908,319 silver uncirculated coins. However, one thing is for sure the U.S. Mints produced the following types of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters:
- The 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter with no mint mark;
- The 1776-1976-D Bicentennial Quarter;
- The 1776-1976- S Proof Bicentennial Quarter;
- The 1776-1976-S Silver Bicentennial Quarter;
- The 1776-1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial Quarter.
You can notice the mintmark S (San Francisco Mint), and D (Denver Mint) on the obverse side of the 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Main Features
- Category: 1776-1976 Commemorative Bicentennial Coinage
- Mints: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco
- Obverse Designer: John Flanagan
- Reverse designer: Jack L. Ahr
- Composition: silver and copper-nickel clad
- Weight: 5.67g
- Diameter: 24.3 mm
- Thickness: 1.75 mm
- Face Value: 25 cents (0.25 USD)
- Edge: Reeded
The 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters are easily recognized by the following features:
- John Flanagan’s design is on the obverse side of the coin. He portrayed the first U.S. President George Washington’s left profile (1789-1797 presidential term) along with the writings “IN GOD WE TRUST” written to his left, and “LIBERTY” across the top rim. If there is a mintmark you can find it to the right of Washington’s portrait. Across the bottom rim you can see the dual date “1776–1976” which also appears on the half-dollar and $1 coin (circulating editions);
- Jack L. Ahr was chosen for the coin’s unique reverse design to celebrate the Bicentennial of the United States. He portrayed the revolutionary era through the Colonial drummer, also referred to as “the drummer boy” (drummer boy quarters). You can also notice a victory torch surrounded by 13 stars and the writings “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on the left side of the drummer, below the torch.
The first George Washington Quarter was minted by the United States Mint in 1932. This was also a commemorative coin issued to mark the 200th anniversary of the president’s birth on February 22, 1732. The George Washington Quarter substituted the Standing Liberty Quarter, which was the last circulating quarter portraying Lady Liberty’s figure on the obverse side. The U.S. Mint produced the quarter through 1998, and in 1999 replaced it with the 50 State Quarters Program.
In 1975 and 1976, the colonial drummer on Washington Quarter reverse briefly replaced the design of the eagle with spread wings to mark the Declaration of Independence Bicentennial.
Errors Affecting the Value of 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter
There are many errors affecting the value of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter. But, before we go into detail we will start from the initial value of the quarters, so in the end you will see the huge price discrepancy between the quarters with and without errors.
The regular 1776-1976 clad Bicentennial Quarter in the circulated condition is only worth its face value of 25 cents ($0.25). The uncirculated 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter without mintmark and the 1776-1976-D Bicentennial Quarter in MS63 condition are worth about $1.25, and about $6 in uncirculated MS65 condition. The 1776-1976-S Proof Bicentennial Quarter value is about $5 in PR65 condition.
The Silver Clad 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter value is at least its weight in silver. The melt value is assessed from the momentary silver spot value of $23.61 per ounce (6 June 2023).
The value of the 1776-1976-S Silver Bicentennial Quarter in uncirculated condition grade MS63 is around $5, and grade MS65 is around $7. The silver proof issue of the same coin in PR65 condition is worth around $8. Now, let’s see how the errors affect the value of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter:
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Double Die Error
If the design is stamped twice (doubling effect) onto the coin you have a doubled die error. For example, in 2018 almost uncirculated Bicentennial Quarter with double die obverse error (DDO) was sold for $474.99. In 2019, a 1976-D Bicentennial Quarter in an MS65 condition with DDO was sold for $3,246. As you can see, the better condition of the quarter bearing the double die error the higher the value. Collectors have come across several die bicentenary quarters that have auction prices between $810 and $3,246.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Doubling
This type of error was noticed in the form of doubling on both sides of the coin. If you use a magnifying glass you will notice a doubling display as extra thickness on the inscription “In God We Trust”.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Overstruck Error
Sometimes a one-of-a-kind coin can be a subject of an overstruck error. This rare error occurs when an already fully struck coin, or another planchet, gets pressed by a coin die. For example, there are bicentennial quarters struck on other denomination coins and planchets, like on a dime. Such coins are extremely rare and unique. Collectors would love to have a quarter with an overstruck error in their collection and ready to pay a lot. A 1976-S Bicentennial Quarter with an overstruck error (double struck on struck 10C dime) was sold at an auction for an incredible sum of $12,000 in January 2021.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Struck Through Grease Error
This is a common error that occurs in the 1776 to 1976-D Bicentennial Quarter. If you examine the 1976-D quarter, you can see a noticeable struck-through error on the drum.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Struck Through Cloth Error
Struck-through errors occur when some kind of obstructions find their way into the coin striking chamber. So, a struck-through cloth error happens when a cloth material leaves a very distinctive and noticeable weave pattern. The coins with a struck-through cloth error can have complete or partial coverage on either the obverse or reverse side of the coin. There is a 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter with a struck-through cloth error where a woven cloth covered the entire obverse side of the coin. This is a very unique and valuable quarter. A 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter with a struck-through cloth error in MS66 condition was sold for $881.25.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Off Center Strike Error
If the quarter’s planchet is not properly positioned during mintage and the coin is struck the result is an off-center design. Such rare 1776-1976-D Bicentennial Quarter with “Filled D” and off-center strike Mint error has a value of $ 1,500. Another valuable Bicentennial Quarter with both an off-center strike error and a partial collar is sold on eBay for $149.95.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Valuable Error Varieties
As you can see the most common errors affecting the value of the 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter are doubled die, off-center strike, struck through grease and cloth error, and missing or incomplete letters or numbers. Also, other errors raise the value of the coin. Here are some valuable error varieties for you to consider:
- 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter (Mint error): $7,500;
- 1776 to 1976-D Bicentennial Quarter (Struck on a Lincoln cent planchet): $2,500;
- 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter (No mint mark with errors): $2,450;
- 1776 to 1976-D Bicentennial Quarters (Denver filled D and other errors): $2,200;
- 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter (Mint border error): $2,100;
- 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter (No mint mark error): $2,000;
- 1776 to 1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial Quarter (With errors): $2,000;
- 1776 to 1976-D Bicentennial Quarter (D double die fill error): $1,700;
- 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter (No mint mark error): $1,299.99;
- 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter (Strong clash error): $1,150.
The list goes on! You can find different collectible types of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters with errors on the market. The difference between these quarters and the ones without errors is more than obvious. Just check the price!
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Auction Record Value
1776 to 1976- S Silver Bicentennial Quarter in Mint state holds the auction record of $19,200 according to Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) auction prices. But, that is not the only valuable bicentennial quarter. Check the table to find more valuable types of the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters with or without mintmark.
|1776 to 1976 Clad Bicentennial Quarter, MS
|1976 Clad MS||$1,821|
|1976 (1975) Clad MS||$430|
|1976-D Clad MS||$8,400|
|1776 to 1976 Silver Bicentennial Quarter, MS
|1976-S Silver MS, 25C||$19,200|
|1776 to 1976 Clad Bicentennial Quarter, PR||1976-S (1975) Clad PR||$342|
|1976-S Clad PR||$6,038|
|1776 to 1976 Silver Bicentennial Quarter, PR||1976-S Silver PR, 25C||$13,500|
As you can see with or without a mintmark, the 1776 to 1976 Silver Bicentennial Quarters have the highest auction value.
Other Valuable 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters
Every 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter auction record value holds other valuable bicentennial quarters. This table explains in detail the value, grade, auction, and specific sale of some of the most valuable 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters:
|MS69||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2019 June 6-9 Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction||$19,200|
|MS66||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||2023 May 3-7 CSNS U.S. Coins Signature Auction #1359||$8,400|
|MS69||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||Internet U.S. Coin Auction #132151||$6,600|
|MS68||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2017 January 4-9 FUN U.S. Coins Signature Auction Fort Lauderdale, FL||$6,463|
|/||NGC||Bowers & Merena||The November 2010 Baltimore Auction||$6,038|
|MS69||PCGS||Heritage Auctions||Signature Sale #370||$5,888|
|MS68||PCGS||Legend Rare Coin Auctions||The Regency Auction XXV Las Vegas January 2018||$5,170|
|MS69||PCGS||Bowers & Merena||The February 2007 Pre-Long Beach Rarities Sale||$5,060|
|MS68||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando #1166||$3,220|
|MS65||NGC||Heritage Auctions||2019 July 11-14 Summer FUN U.S. Coins Signature Auction Orlando, FL||$3,246|
If you take a closer look at the grade and price column, you will notice the close connection between the coin’s grade and value.
1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarters are an excellent example of coins with both historical and collectible value. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, these coins have been in circulation for years.
However, they stand out from the crowd just by being part of a commemorative issue. If you add Mint errors to this fact alone, you will have a rare and valuable 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter in your possession.
Mint errors greatly affect the value of the coin, especially rare errors that can only be found in a small number of Bicentennial Quarters. Don’t forget the other factors that may increase the value of your quarter like condition, grade, rarity, and auction prices.
Use every available information in this article for proper value analysis and leave nothing to chance. Who knows, maybe your pocket change will turn into a profit after all!