If you read us religiously you’ll notice that just a few articles before this we already talked about the valuable quarter coin – the 1964 quarter value. However, this is not the only series of Washington Quarter coins that is highly collectible.
Luckily for all of you, coin enthusiasts, we found yet another valuable quarter you should check on – the 1979 Washington Quarter! Everything that is linked with the image of the first President of America has some value considering how this President is popular among Americans.
In this article, we will discover what makes this coin an interesting part of American history. Read on to learn more about the 1979 Quarter value, varieties, and rare errors.
History Of 1979 Washington Quarter
In 1932, in honor of the 200th birthday of the first US President, George Washington the Standing Liberty Quarter was replaced by the Washington Quarter. An original plan was to mint a commemorative coin that will last for a year or two. However, the coin’s design ended up becoming one of the most popular ones in the United States.
Almost over 100 artists submitted a design with an image of G. Washington for the new American Quarter. What is also interesting is that this coin changed its composition from 1965 to 1998. Almost all coins minted before 1965 were made by using 90% silver, while those minted afterward are made from clad composition copper-nickel.
The 1979 Washington Quarter was minted in three different mints – Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. As usual, all coins made at the Philadelphia Mint don’t have a mint mark, while those minted at the San Francisco and Denver Mints have an “S” and “D” mint mark.
Even though these Quarter coins aren’t so valuable, keep in mind that those rare ones in such as error coins, when in excellent condition will be worth a lot more! Also, keep your eyes on coins with a rating of MS67 or higher.
Naturally, proof coins were also produced in 1979, including the 1979 Washington quarters that were stamped with two different mint marks – Type 1 with a filled S mint mark and Type 2 with a clear S. Type 2 is rarer and more valuable.
Why Are Washington Quarters Popular Among Collectors?
There are many different reasons why all Washington Quarters are so special and valuable to collectors. The main reason why this series of Washington Quarters is valuable is that these are the last coins that only have “D” and “S” mintmarks.
From 1980 the “P” mintmark was added on all quarter coins that were minted in Philadelphia.
The main features of the 1979 Washington Quarter coin
Until 1965 all Washington Quarters weighed around 6.25 g since they were made from 90% silver. Then, in 1965 the US Mint decided to change the metal composition producing clad coins with a cupro-nickel outer layer and a pure copper core. Today, you can find non-circulating silver versions of coins that were minted for collectors since 1976.
The obverse side of the 1979 Washington Quarter features Washington’s portrait wearing long hair tied with a ribbon. On the top rim, you will see the word “LIBERTY” and the date 1979 just below the bust. The always-present motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” can be seen on the left coin side just in front of Washington’s neck.
On the opposite side is the mint mark D or S, or no mint mark depending on where it was produced.
The reverse of the 1979 Washington Quarter features an image of an American eagle with fully spread wings. An eagle holds a bundle of arrows in its clutches, which represents war. Below the arrows, you can notice olive branches which symbolize peace.
Inscriptions such as “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “QUARTER DOLLAR” are struck along the coin rim. Also, the Latin saying “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is located above the eagle’s head.
The 1979 Washington Quarter contains a center made from pure copper which is coated with a layer made of 75% copper and 25% nickel. This coin is slightly lighter than Quarters made before 1965, and it weighs around 5.67 grams. The edge is reeded and it features 119 reeds along the edge and is round.
How does the grade affect the value of the 1979 quarter coin?
Logically, the condition and grade of the coin will affect the end price. The most valuable coins are always labeled with some of the uncirculated grades. The lowest-value coin grade for collectors is good. Let’s learn some basics of the grading system:
- (P-1) Poor – These coins are indistinguishable and damaged. However, to be accepted as collectibles they must have a visible date and mintmark.
- (FR-2) Fair – Coins with this grade are not so smooth, but they do not have any large damage that previously graded coins have. To be identified they must have enough visible details.
- (G-4) Fair – These coins are in a bit better shape than previous ones but the inscriptions have merged into the rim. Almost all important elements have been erased.
- (VG-8) Very Good – All of the primary design elements are visible but not as much as clear.
- (F-12) Good – Coins graded good come from circulation, so they are worn but the overall design details stand out clearly. Rims are completely isolated from the rest of the coin.
- (VF-20) Very Fine – Used in circulation but still in great condition, some finer features still visible. To earn this grade all the inscriptions such as the motto LIBERTY are easily readable. Both sides have whole rims that are separated from the rest of the coin.
- (EF-40) Extremely Fine – Slightly used, all details are visible, and the most important ones are still bold. All finer details such as mintmarks are bold and clear. Light wear may be seen and is acceptable.
- (AU-50) Uncirculated – These coins may have contact marks but minor. The eye appeal must be on point!
- (AU-58) Uncirculated Choice – Minor traces of wear. There should be no severe contact marks and almost full mint shine.
- (MS-60) Mint State Basal – Must be uncirculated! Strictly no indication of wear on the coin’s highest points. Only acceptable are reduced luster, minor visible contact marks, hairlines, and other small flaws.
- (MS-63) Mint State Acceptable – Coin must be uncirculated. Contact scratches and small nicks, slightly reduced shine, but otherwise great eye appeal. Check the strike it must be weak to average.
- (MS-65) Mint State Choice – Uncirculated coin that features a great mint shine. There are no to very little contact blemishes. Exceptional eye appeal while the strike is unusually severe.
- (MS-68) Mint State Premium Quality – Uncirculated coin that sports a superb luster. Naturally, there are no obvious contact marks. Exceptional eye appeal with the quick and appealing strike.
- (MS-69) Almost Perfect Mint State – Uncirculated coin that features a perfect mint brilliance. Also, it has a sharp and appealing strike and extremely good eye appeal. This is a near-perfect coin with minor imperfections that can be seen in the planchet, strike, and contact markings.
- (MS-70) Mint State Perfect – This is a perfect coin, if you take it under 8x magnification, you won’t see any tiny imperfections. The strike is crisp, and the coin is precisely centered on a perfect planchet. This coin is also bright and whole with original luster.
Lists Of Valuable Errors For The 1979 Quarter Coin
From time to time a mint produces a coin that has mint flaws. These are end result of production problems, deliberate activities by mint workers, or deterioration in the minting equipment. Not surprising at all, these coins are typically worth more than the regular ones.
Luckily, certain 1979 Washinton Quarter coins contain mint blunders even though most of the coins from this series are flawless. Even though mistakes on 1979 quarter coins are rather uncommon here is the list of those you should look for:
- 1979 Quarter Double Rim And Broad Strike Error – Some 1979 coins were minted without reeds on the coin’s edge. These reeds serve as a decorative element, but also as a patent to deter counterfeiting since they are pretty hard to replicate. !979 quarters without reeds are error coins that are the result of production processes where the coin die wasn’t engraved properly. The edge is smooth, and the estimated value of this coin is up to $100.
- 1979 Quarter Triple D Error – This is an error coin that has defected die. The metal stamp that was used to create the coin’s design is damaged. In this particular case when the die is faulty the mint mark D is duplicated or tripled. A coin with this error is pretty rare and pretty sought-after among collectors. Depending on the condition it is estimated to be worth $175 and up.
- 1979 Quarter Filled D Error – This is also an error that occurs during the mint process. A defect in the die is used for stamping the mint mark. The end result is mint mark D which is entirely or partially filled. This is a very unique and rare error that naturally drives the price tag up. The estimated value of this coin is at least $175.
- 1979 Quarter Filling On D Error – This is also known as a D over D error since it occurs when a mint mark is repunched twice. The end result is a smaller letter stamped on top of a larger one. The smaller D is always positioned on the right side of the large D mint mark. This error is pretty uncommon and estimated around $180.
- 1979 S proof Washington quarter Type 1 and Type 2 – There are two types of Washington quarters minted in the San Francisco Mint and both are proof coins. Type 1 has a filled and less distinct S mint mark on the right side while Type 2 has a clear S mint mark. Type 2 is more valuable and the price goes from $500 and up.
Table of the most valuable 1979 Washington Quarter coins
How To Determine The Real Value Of 1979 Washington Quarter Coin?
It goes without saying that serious collectors always prefer buying professionally graded coins. So in case you think you have a few valuable ones in your possession make sure you take them for grading first to enhance your chances of selling them.
Three main factors will increase the value of your quarter coin:
- Rarity – Rare is valuable, no matter which type of collectible we are talking about. However, a rarity for coins is in most cases presented by the date of minting, metal composition, or mint marks. For the Washington quarter the year 1979 is scarce since this is the last year when they only used the “S” and “D” mint marks.
- Mintmark – To determine the value of a 1979 Washinton quarter make sure to locate the mintmark at the back of the coin, or the absence of the same. Keep in mind that coins with no mint mark are minted in Philadelphia, while proof sets and proof coins will carry an “S” mint mark that is clear-cut or filled.
- Condition and grade – Quarter values are identified according to four primary grades. Uncirculated, Extremely Fine, Fine, and Good. Excellent grades have minor wear on the curls and hair of the president’s portrait. On the other hand, a good grade has significant details flattened by wear, and the letter tops seem to merge with the rim.
How To Make Difference Between Clad And Silver 1979 Quarters?
The general plan was to make all 1979 quarter coins from a clad material, however, some rare examples were accidentally struck on silver planchets. Mistakes happen in mints so it is worth paying attention and investigating when it comes to looking for rare error examples. These coins are extremely valuable.
The main difference is weight, keep in mind that silver coins are heavier than copper coins. Meaning that a silver quarter must weigh 6.25 grams, while clad quarters will weigh 5.7 grams. The next thing you should check is patina, or any other sign of the aging process. Clad coins will hue with time, while silver coins will tarnish.
The last feature that will help you determine the two is sound. Silver coins have a higher-pitched sound and ring when you drop them on a hard surface while clad coins produce a dull thud sound.
Where Can I Buy Or Sell 1979 Washington Quarters?
Before listing your coin online you must make sure you choose a reliable dealer or web platform. Scammers are everywhere these days, and this can cost you a lot of money. Keep in mind the act that not all errors are products of the minting process. Some errors occurred during the circulation of coins, or someone intentionally damaged the coin, so they aren’t valuable at all. Always buy coins only from reliable sellers to avoid being scammed, especially if you are a newbie.
When it comes to buying and selling valuable coins it is crucial to focus on finding the best dealer on the market. Your first option should always be a reliable auction house or reputable coin web pages such as Heritage Auctions, PCGS, Coins For Sale, or Littleton Coin Company.
Of course, you can explore places like eBay, Etsy, and LiveAuctioneers to get information about the particular coin such as price and how attractive are they to collectors. But, we don’t recommend buying valuable coins here, especially not those that are too expensive. Look for a proven seller and always consult with someone who is much more experienced than you are.
Why aren’t all Washington Quarters produced from silver?
All Washington Quarters were initially made of 90% silver and 10% copper. However, due to the rise in the value of silver in 1964 people started to hoard silver coins. This was the main trigger for mins to remove silver from the composition and replace it.
Newly minted coins were made with an outer layer of 75% copper and 25% nickel. This layer surrounded an inner core of pure copper.
Where is a mint mark placed on a 1979 Washington Quarter?
Until 1965 all silver quarters had their mint mark on the obverse side. From 1965 the quarters got their mint mark but on the reverse side. This small detail will help you determine the silver from the clad quarter with ease.
Which 1979 Washington Quarters are worth collecting?
According to collectors, you should look for the following coins:
- 1979 No Mint mark MS 68 clad Washington quarter
- 1979 D MS 67 clad Washington quarter
- 1979 S PR 70 DCAM clad Washington quarter Type 2
- 1979 S PR 70 DCAM clad Washington quarter Type 1
Which one is the rarest Washington quarter?
The rarest and most valuable Washington Quarters are 1932 D MS 65 and 1932 S MS 66. A first example was sold for $32,200 while the one struck in San Francisco was sold for $35,250.
In The End, Should You Invest In 1979 Washington Quarters?
To summarize let’s say that collecting the 1979 quarter coins is a good thing to do considering it has an interesting history. As we already mentioned this coin marks the transition from the Standing Liberty to the Washington Quarter design.
Even though some other series of this coin are much more valuable, this one as well is worth investing in since many collectors are looking to form a complete collection of 147 coins.
Also, the 1979 Washington Quarter marks the end of the sole use of D and S mint marks. This might seem like rather useless information to you, but if you are a passionate numismatic you will know that this increases the value of the coin significantly.
Hopefully, this article answered some of the questions and helped you figure out how to handle your precious coins. In case you know some information that we didn’t mention here, please do not hesitate to share your opinions and advice in the comment section below.