Broadstrike Error Quarters: Find A Quarter Without Ridges? See How Much A Smooth Edge Quarter Is Worth

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Quarters without ridges (or edge reeding) turn up in pocket change from time to time. Most are worth keeping.

Of course, these odd coins catch people’s attention because U.S. quarters are supposed to have reeded edges.

Which leads to a lot of coin collecting questions:

  • Are quarters without ridges actually error coins?
  • If smooth edge quarters are mint errors, then how much are they worth?
  • Are some quarters without reeded edges simply damaged coins?
  • If so, then how can you tell damaged quarters apart from error quarters?

Error Quarters vs. Damaged Quarters With Smooth Edges

So, there are 2 types of quarters without ridges:

  1. Error quarters
  2. Damaged quarters

Simple enough, right? Well, not exactly.

Unless you’re an error coin expert, it can be difficult to tell whether your smooth edge quarter is an error coin worth lots of money or simply a damaged coin worth face value.

So, what’s the scoop on these coins? How do some quarters end up without ridges? And, what’s the difference between one being an error versus just damaged?

Let’s talk about how a regular quarter might end up without ridges — there are basically 2 ways this could happen:

  1. The coin was heavily worn on its edges — most likely due to extensive use in vending machines or casino slot machines. The edges may have also been intentionally removed with a filing device after the coin left the mint. These are not errors and are not valuable.
  2. The coin wasn’t struck in its collar die or retaining collar — which would stamp the reeds onto the edge of the quarter. This is called a broadstrike or broadstruck error. These are errors and are valuable.

Next, you need to determine if your quarter without ridges is a broadstruck quarter (error coin) or a regular quarter (damaged coin)…

How To Tell If A Smooth Edge Quarter Is A Broadstrike Error Coin

Broadstruck coins do have smooth edges, but there’s something else about them that makes them quite distinctive: they’re wider and flatter than ordinary.

That’s because the retaining collar was missing when this coin was struck — and it’s the retaining collar that ensures that a coin is the proper width and thickness.

A modern-day quarter (after 1964) should measure and weigh the following:

  • Diameter: 24.3 millimeters, or 0.955 inches
  • Thickness: 1.75 millimeters, or 0.069 inches
  • Weight:
    • 6.25 grams (90% silver quarters made before 1965)
    • 5.75 grams (40% silver quarters dated 1776-1976)
    • 5.67 grams (copper-nickel clad quarters made after 1964)
  • Number of Reeds: 119

NOTE: Extremely minor variances in the weights and measurements listed above are permitted by the United States Mint.

If the retaining collar isn’t surrounding a planchet (the blank disc of coin metal) when it’s being struck, then it will become somewhat wider and thinner than it should be.

So, a broadstrike error quarter will:

  • Be wider than normal and thinner than ordinary, and it won’t be the typical diameter or thickness of other quarters with ridges
  • Have a narrow margin of blank metal surrounding the periphery of the coin where the rim would normally be
  • Possibly have weaker design details on either side of the coin because the metal spreads out farther than it normally should

The bottom line…

If your smooth edge quarter appears normal in every other way (it’s the right thickness and the correct diameter) then it’s not an error coin — it is merely exhibiting extensive edge wear, is damaged, or has been altered.

How Much Is A Quarter Without Ridges Worth?

Finally, the most important question!

I’m figuring you came here to find out how much your smooth edge quarter dollar coins are worth.

So here’s the scoop:

Smooth Edge Quarter Value (Damaged Coin, Not An Error Coin)

  • Washington Quarters Made Before 1965 — silver melt value 
  • Washington Quarters Produced After 1964 — 25 cents

Broadstruck Quarter Value (Error Coin)

  • Washington Quarters Struck Before 1965 — $150+
  • Washington Quarters Made After 1964 — $15+
  • Bicentennial Quarters — $40+

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51 thoughts on “Broadstrike Error Quarters: Find A Quarter Without Ridges? See How Much A Smooth Edge Quarter Is Worth”

  1. I have a Bicentennial Broadstruck quarter with no mint mark. The whole word LIBERTY is cut off at the top too. The L looks longer at the bottom than a normal Bicentennial Quarter and it doesn’t seem like the same kind of metal either. I haven’t found any other posts or pages with one like it. Do you think it’s worth something and who should I take it to to appraise it? Thank you.

    Reply
  2. I am very new to coin collecting. I found a 2007 p montana quarter without ribbing the head side of the coin. The edge looks beveled. Is this considered broad struck? It weighs 5.6gr

    Reply
    • Hi, Teresa —

      I’d need to please see a couple clear photos of your coin to assist further but based on how you say the edge is beveled it sounds like post-mint damage to me.

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Debra —

      Unfortunately this isn’t a broadstrike error but rather a coin whose edges were altered post-mint either by being spun in a dryer or by having its edges machined in a process known as “spooning.” We explain more about these types of this in this article: https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/error-coins/

      Because this coin is effectively damaged and its metal content value does not exceed face value, it is worth 25 cents.

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Brian —

      What you have here is a post-mint altered quarter; it appears to have been machined in a manner known as spooning, in which the edges are upraised with a blunt implement. Because it is not an error, was altered, is worn, and has no precious-metal content it is worth face value.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Paige —

      If you posted photos of your coin I’m afraid I’m not seeing them here. Would you please repost them so I can be of better help?

      Thank you,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Mark —

      While there’s some minor doubling on this coin it’s unfortunately only mechanical doubling, which is rather common and derives not from a doubled die but rather issues with the die deteriorating or shifting on the presses perhaps due to overuse. There is generally no premium associated with such pieces.

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
  3. I have a quarter that is smooth around the edges. I put it under a coin microscope is what I am going to call it and I can see that the edges of the coin were bearly marked. When you look at the coin with the naked eye it looks perfectly smooth. Also, on the back of the coin the duck is missing its eye, some of the trees do not have the leaves, and the boat and the man were not stamped as they should have been. . The quarter is a 2005 State of Minnesota coin.

    Reply
    • Hi, Brenda —

      It’s hard for me to say for certain what is going on with your coin without seeing it. Could you please post a couple clear images of the coin here and I’d be glad to help further.

      Thank you,
      Josh

      Reply
        • Hi, Brenda —

          You can upload photos here by clicking the little rectangular photo upload button near the comment field. From there you will be able to select the images you wish to upload; they should be less than 2mb in size and either JPG or PNG files.

          Hope this helps,
          Josh

          Reply
  4. This is Brenda, do you have an email address you can share. I took pictures and I can’t seem to figure out how to upload them here.

    Reply
    • Hi Sean,

      What happened here is someone filed off the heraldic eagle design. It’s unfortunately a situation of post-mint damage and the 1990 quarter is worth its face value.

      Thank you for reaching out,
      Josh

      Reply
    • Hi, Paula —

      Unfortunately, this is not a mint error. This quarter exhibits post-mint damage either by way of alteration by centrifugal force, such as spinning inside of a clothes dryer, or by applied manipulation, as in scooping or “spooning” the edge of a coin with a blunt object.

      Best wishes,
      Josh

      Reply
      • I can see where something has wore the 2006 quater and its rim and face appears to be worn but the 1996 quater is clearly stamped with no signs of alterations and its rim is smooth metal Allyson clearly separated where as the 2006 rim look like teeth between alloys

        Reply
        • Hi, Paula —

          I’ll need to please see a clear photo or two of your coin to assist more thoroughly. You can post the photo(s) here.

          Thank you,
          Josh

          Reply
  5. Joshua I have two quaters with no rim one the two metal alloys are smooth and the other quater witH no rim has a smooth line separating the alloys.. Could one of them be correct?

    Reply

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