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Many people want to know what their 1978 quarters are worth — especially since old coins tend to be worth more than their face value these days.
But is a 1978 quarter really worth more than 25 cents?
The answer? It depends…
Fun Facts About 1978 Quarters
Before diving into the 1978 quarter value, let’s take a closer look at what makes these coins unique.
1978 Quarter Design
The Washington quarter first came about in 1932 — when John Flanagan engraved the now-classic bust of Revolutionary War general and first United States president George Washington.
The design on the obverse (“heads side”) of the coin was based on a bust sculpture of Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon. On the reverse (“tails side”) is a heraldic eagle, which Flanagan also rendered on the coin.
Where Is The Mintmark On A 1978 Quarter?
Many people who have a 1978 quarter will be looking for the presence of a mint letter stamp or mintmark on the coin.
In the case of 1978 quarters, the mintmark will be found on the lower-right side of the coin — just behind the bow in Washington’s ponytail.
You will find either a “D” mintmark indicating the coin was struck at the Denver Mint or an “S” mintmark symbolizing the coin’s origin at the San Francisco Mint.
You will not find a “P” mintmark indicating the Philadelphia Mint on a 1978 quarter.
This is because Philly struck 1978 quarters with no mintmark on the basis of a longtime custom that most coins coming from the main mint in Philadelphia didn’t carry a “P” mintmark. This changed in 1980, when all circulating coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint with a face value of five cents or higher were to carry a “P” mintmark. There were some exceptions to this rule prior to 1980, though none such with the 1978 quarter.
So, if you happen to find a 1978 no mintmark quarter, it is not a valuable error coin. It is a typical 1978 quarter from the Philadelphia Mint.
What Should 1978 Quarters Weigh?
All standard-issue 1978 quarters are made from copper-nickel clad and should weigh about 5.67 grams.
The weight of a clad 1978 quarter is much lighter than the 90% silver quarters issued prior to 1965 and which weigh 6.25 grams.
Are 1978 Quarters Made Of Silver?
Many people wonder if there are any 1978 silver quarters worth looking for.
The answer? Likely not.
There are some rare, valuable 1977 silver quarter off-metal transitional errors worth much more than face value — thousands of dollars, to be precise. But as of this writing, there are no 1978 silver quarter errors.
Are 1978 Quarters Rare?
As we are about to explore below, there are some 1978 clad quarters that are rare and valuable — because they are in extremely well-preserved condition or contain scarce errors or varieties.
But in the most basic sense, the vast majority of 1978 quarters you will find in pocket change are quite common.
IMPORTANT: Do You Know The Grade Of Your 1978 Quarter?
To determine the true value of your 1978 quarter, you first need to know what condition (or grade) your coin is in.
These are the best coin grading apps that make grading coins SO much easier!
How Much Is A 1978 Quarter Worth?
There are 3 types of 1978 quarters, and each has a different value.
Let’s explore those values now…
1978 Quarter Value (No Mintmark)
If you’ve found a 1978 quarter with no mintmark, it was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. In 1978, the Philly Mint struck a total of 521,452,000 quarters — that’s more than half a billion, with a capital B!
It’s kind of hard to suggest anything that was made to the tune of more than half a billion could be rare. And, generally speaking, no — 1978 no mintmark quarters are not rare.
- If you find a 1978 quarter with wear, it is worth only face value of 25 cents.
- However, uncirculated 1978 quarters that show very little wear are worth around $1 to $2 — and up.
- Those in especially good condition are worth much more than that! In March 2021, the most valuable 1978 quarter without a mintmark (graded MS67+ by Professional Coin Grading Service) sold for a whopping $2,875.
1978-D Quarter Value
The 1978-D quarter was struck at the Denver Mint, where 287,373,152 were produced.
Now, granted… 287 million is a lot less than the 521 million (aka, half a billion!) made in Philadelphia that year. But 287-plus million is still a ton of coins. The 1978-D quarter is therefore not considered a rare coin in the absolute sense.
- If you find a 1978-D quarter with circulation wear, it’s usually worth only its face value of 25 cents.
- Any 1978-D quarter in mint condition is worth more — typically $1 to $2.
- The most valuable 1978-D quarter was graded MS67+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and fetched an astounding $1,527.50 in a 2016 sale.
1978-S Quarter Value
Do you have a 1978-S quarter?
If you found it in circulation, congratulations! The hearty well wishes are well deserved, given that the 1978-S quarter was never intended to circulate!
These coins were made at the San Francisco Mint just for coin collectors. They were sold in sets of other 1978 United States coinage bearing the “S” mintmark.
You’ll probably notice that 1978-S coins appear a little more resilient than other 1978 coins. This is because they were specially struck in proof format — which is not a condition but rather a method of manufacture.
Modern proof coins, such as the 1978-S quarter, were made using highly polished blanks intentionally struck at least twice by specially prepared dies on high-tonnage presses to ensure that even the most minute details are produced with stunning clarity.
The San Francisco Mint struck a total of 3,127,781 proof quarters in 1978, and these are typically available for anywhere from $3 to $5 apiece.
The most valuable 1978-S quarter was graded Proof-70 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service and sold for a respectable $472 in 2003.
Rare & Valuable 1978 Error Quarters To Look For
Some of the most valuable 1978 quarters aren’t the ones in perfect condition — they’re the ones that exhibit some kind of mint mistake!
There are a lot of different kinds of rare and valuable 1978 quarters with errors and varieties that you could possibly find in your pocket change. These include:
- Missing-clad layer 1978 quarters, which are generally worth about $250 to $500 or more.
- Off-center 1978 quarters are usually worth $30 to $50 and up; the most valuable kinds of 1978 off-center quarters are missing about 50% of their design yet still show a complete date and can command over $250.
- No ridges / edge reeding 1978 quarters may be missing their distinctive lines on the edge of the coin due to wear (most common reason) or an error (scarcer and valuable); if your quarter with no edge ridges is also slightly wider and thinner than normal, it’s likely a broadstrike error and can be worth more than $20.
READ NEXT: A List Of The Most Valuable U.S Quarters
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!