Whether you are a beginner in collecting old coins, or you already have plenty of experience when it comes to numismatics, you should always keep your knowledge of today’s market up to date.

The initial Washington quarter design was struck from 1932 to 1998. The only change in design was during a two-year run in 1975 and 1976 when the coin’s reverse design was replaced by Jack Ahr, who put “the drummer boy” on this side of the coin.

Find more about the story behind the 1972 quarters, the most valuable types, and some curiosities regarding their design and past errors.

The History Of The Washington Quarter

The initial reason for creating the Washington quarter was to honor the bicentennial of the birth of America’s very first president. The original design was used almost continuously between 1932 and 1998.

However, the backstory of the Washington quarter is full of myths and conspiracies. It is said that two commissions (Fine Arts and the George Washington Bicentennial) organized a contest for the final design. The competition was a big hit and numerous designs were submitted. The artists had to base their creations on Jean-Antoine Houdon’s sculpture of George Washington.

There were 99 designs which made it through to the contest. Only 5 were sent into the finals for revision. In the end, the winner was Laura Gardin Fraser; although her design was revised, many protested against her work. Thus, the Bicentennial Commission’s secretary Andrew Mellon, chose John Flanagan’s design as the winner.

This paved the way for even more protests. All this controversy led to a delay in the coin’s production and release. Long story short, the first Washington Quarter entered the market on the 1st of August 1932.

Fascinating Facts About Quarters

  • Back in 1792, a law directed American money to be made only of gold, silver, and copper. Consequently, $10, $5, and $2.50 coins were made of gold. Dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars were pure silver, while cents and half a cents were crafted from copper.
  • The 1804 quarter dollar was the very first silver coin in the USA to have an actual value on it. Until then, no silver or gold American coin had a value printed on it. People recognized the value of their money by size.
  • Never did President George Washington expect to be on a quarter. During his presidency, he and the Congress rejected coin designs featuring his profile because this would have looked like too much monarchy.
  • The blanks used to make quarters were firstly pickled. Not like cucumbers, but soaked in a special chemical solution that washed and polished the blanks before they were minted.

Design

The old design of the coin features a left-facing bust of George Washington, while the reverse displays America’s heraldic eagle depicted in Art Deco Style.

Washington quarter eras:

Silver Heraldic Eagle Era 1932, 1934-1964
Clad Heraldic Eagle era 1965-1974
Bicentennial Quarter 1975-1976
Clad Heraldic Eagle (1977-1998)
State Quarters era (1999-2008)
US Territories (2009)
America the Beautiful Era (2009-2021)

1972 Quarter Obverse

The obverse side features the left-facing portrait of George Washington, the first president of the United States based on the sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon created in 1786.

Above the president’s head, is the word “Liberty.” 1972 wraps around the bottom, while on the left side of Washington, it is written ‘In God We Trust.” To the right, you will notice the D mintmark, which shows the coin comes from the Denver Mint, or the S mintmark which shows the coin is from the San Francisco mint. If there is no mintmark this means the coin was minted at the Philadelphia mint.

1972 Quarter Reverse

On the reverse side of the 1972 quarter coin stands the heraldic eagle, styled in an Art Deco manner. The talons of the eagle, as well as its head, are facing to the left. At the bottom of the coin are two sprays of olive branches forming a U shape.

1972 Quarter Edges

The edges of the 1972 Quarter were shaped in semi-cylindrical moldings. This gives it a “reeded” edge.

1972 Quarter Material Composition

Over the years, the Washington quarter was made of .900 silver (from 1932 to 1966). Things changed from August 1965. Since then, quarters started to be manufactured using a copper-nickel blend; since then, only copper-nickel coins have been in circulation. The 1972 coins are 75% Copper, 25% Nickel with a pure Copper center.

The 1972 D Quarter Value And Specifics

The quarters with the Denver mint (D mintmark) from the 1970s is superior in terms of cost compared to the Philadelphia mint (no mintmark) counterparts. There were around 2.7 million D quarters produced in 1972.

Coin collectors likely hold only a small percentage of the top-quality coins out there. A typical 1972 D quarter value on today’s market may be around $10 at PCGS grading MS65.

An essential detail that you should know about the 1972-D quarter is the detailed design and sharp lettering on both sides (obverse and reverse). This is because post-production steps have been carried out to enhance the design.

Look closely at the Washington portrait. You will be able to see striking hits on the eyebrows, forehead, and a particular bust truncation. If these signs are not that visible, and the coin has been kept away from circulation, it means you may be dealing with MS66 or MS67 grades. The value you should expect coins with this grade to have is around $25 to $75 USD.

1972 Quarter Value Chart

COIN TYPE⬇\QUALITY➜ MS 60 MS 65 MS 66 PR 65
1972 Quarter $5.70
1972 D Quarter $10 $25-75
1972 S Quarter $4.52

Important! The lower the grade, the less worthy the coin will be. These prices are based on current values displayed on the USA Coin Book site.

1972 Quarter Essential Specifications

Original Country The United States Of America
Year of Release 1972
Value Quarter Dollar
Mint Mark D, S or no mintmark (P)
Materials Copper, Nickel and copper center
Mintage Number More than 3 million pieces
Diameter 24.3 mm
Weight 5.67 grams
Quality Circulation Strike
Obverse designer John Flanagan
Reverse designer John Flanagan

1972 Quarter Errors

When it comes to the  1972 quarter, we can say that the most common mistake is the presence of a second seven located right between the 7 and 2 of the “1972” date.

A 1972 Washington quarter with no mintmark (Philadelphia mint) with a so-called “25-C” error was sodl for $1,750 by Heritage Auctions in 2018.

A 1972-D Washington quarter with a “25-C” error made an auction record, selling for $3,055 USD in 2014. This was the most expensive 1972 quarter ever sold!

FAQs

Q: Is the 1972 quarter made of silver?

A: The earlier Washington quarters were made from silver. However, more recent models including the 1972 quarter replaced silver with copper and nickel.

Q: What is the value of 1972 quarters with no mint mark?

A: One of the most frequent questions passionate collectors get is regarding the no mint mark quarters. Is the no mint mark quarter less valuable?

The lack of a mint mark is widespread and rarely affects the final value. The 1972 coins with a D mintmark tend to fetch the highest price. But coins with no mintmark can be sold for tens or even hundreds of dollars depending on the condition and grading. The auction record was $1,750.

Q: What is the most memorable and rarest Liberty quarter?

A: The rarest yet most valuable Liberty quarter is the 1927-S variety. These coins are unique due to their weak strikes, as well as their complexity in terms of design.

Q: What is the 1970 quarter value?

A: The value of a 1970 quarter is determined by multiple factors, including the mint producing those coins. During 1970, there were over 500 million quarters on the market from the Denver, San Francisco, and Philadelphia mints.

Therefore, finding these varieties on the market can be pretty straightforward. The typical cost can vary widely from tens to hundreds of dollars typically. The most expensive 1970 quarter was a 1972-D Washington quarter which sold for $2,925.75 in 2014.

Q: What is the rarest type of quarter?

A: The most interesting and rarest type of quarter was produced in 1941. At that time, a Canadian quarter was left in a coin press. The process happened at the San Francisco mint. Outside the Washington quarter, the coin had some remnant patterns of the initial Canadian quarter. The final effect is spectacular and unique, as you may see the top of King George’s head around Washington’s portrait. However, the REX inscription is barely noticeable at the bottom of the coin.

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