In my experience, quarters are the hardest coin to make a return on. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking, though. If you beat the odds and find a good one, you could find yourself with thousands.
The oldest of quarter designs is the Bust Quarter. They were minted from 1796-1838. If you find one, you can expect to pull in somewhere around $50 at the bottom range, but there are about a half dozen years that will pull in hundreds, up to around $500. On the off chance that you find one, definitely set it aside.
Next came the Seated Liberty Quarter in the years 1838-1891. Not as lucrative a find as the Bust Quarter, one of these will still bring in somewhere around $15-20. That’s still 60x the face value.
Barber Quarters were minted between 1892 and 1916. They’ll generally make you something between 5 and 25 bucks, but if you happen across an 1897 or 1914 S mint, the payout is closer to $100. A 1913 S mint is worth well over $1,000. (Don’t know what mint marks are? Learn more here.)
The Standing Liberty Quarter, minted between 1916 and 1930, is variable in value. Generally you can expect $4, but among the more common dates payout can reach $50. Less common dates are as follows, organized by mint mark:
No mint mark (We all know that means Philadelphia, right?)
1916- around $2,000
1921- around $100
S mint mark
1917/8- around $1,000
1923- around $200
Washington Quarters Pre-1964
Washington Quarters are the design we’re familiar with today. Between 1932 and 1964, they were actually made out of 90% silver. (The other 10% is copper.) So each one is worth 90% it’s weight in whatever current silver bullion values are. (Will vary with the market. This general concept also applies to some of the older designs.) 90% of the weight of a quarter is 5.63g. So just multiply that by current market value on the precious metal. That doesn’t mean a dealer will pay you face value. In fact, they probably won’t. But that’s what it’s technically worth. Either way, you’ll get far more than 25 cents.
There were a couple of errors in minting these over the years. And errors add value. (Values are pulled from the About guide, which I’ve found to be fairly accurate.)
1934 no mint mark: If the side with the eagle is double die (or blurry or looks like it’s been printed more than once,) a good estimate is $130.
1937 no mint mark: same error, $240
1943 no mint mark: same error, $550
1942 Denver mint mark: same error, $270
1943 San Fransisco mint mark: same error, $150
1950 Denver or San Fransisco mint mark: If there is a D punched over an S or an S punched over a D where you see your mint mark, you have an overpunched mint mark. The former is about $55, and the latter is about $80.
There were a few others that are just flat out worth more than bullion value, no error necessary.
1935 D mint mark- $111936 D mint mark- $19
1937 S mint mark- $11
1938 S mint mark- $8
1939 S mint mark- $9.50
1940 D mint mark- $10.30
Sometimes people get excited when they find a bicentennial quarter. They really shouldn’t, though. If you want to hold on to one for posterity, it may be worth something when it’s really old due to age. But it won’t be because of rarity vs other quarters in the same series. There were a ton of them minted.
The only way they’re worth anything over twenty-five cents is if they bare the “S” mintmark, in which case they’re 40% silver, and currently expected to bring in $2.25.
Other quarters post-1965 are worth the normal $.25.
Not Losing Your Mind While Rolling
Quarters are easy when you’re rolling due to two factors. The first is that all you have to do is remember to pull quarters made before 1964 and bicentennials (only so you can later check them for that S mint mark.) The second is that there are people who get rolls of quarters at the bank just to look for the silver ones, so in my experience, there aren’t as many older quarters out there as there may be in other denominations of coins.
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