In fact, until 1965, all quarters produced in the United States contained silver. In 1965, the U.S. Mint was forced to switch quarter compositions over to copper-nickel clad as silver prices were rising very quickly; the value of the silver in the quarter was actually worth more than the face value of the coin.
Furthermore, people all across the country were pulling silver coins out of circulation, creating a national coin shortage.
Where To Find Silver Quarters
While the U.S. Mint has stopped producing silver quarters for circulation, the Mint does still strike silver quarters for collectors.
Furthermore, the U.S. Mint has been offering silver Washington quarters for collectors since 1992.
Silver Washington quarters of the recent era (minted since 1992) are proofs, and are found in special collector’s sets that the U.S. Mint assembles and sells annually.
In 1975 and 1976, the U.S. Mint struck collector’s Bicentennial quarters with a 40% silver composition.
How Much Are Silver Quarters Worth?
Well, that depends on which silver quarter we are talking about.
Generally speaking, common silver quarters of the 20th century in well-worn grades are worth between $5 and $10. Certain scarce dates are valued much higher than that.
Here are a few of the rarest dates of 20th century silver quarters and their values:
1913-S Barber Quarter: $1,650 in Good, $4,300 in Fine, $15,000 in Mint-State 60
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter: $3,900 in Good, $8,750 in Fine, $16,500 in Mint-State 60
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter (Overdate) $1,900 in Good, $4,000 in Fine, $20,000 in Mint-State 60
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter $390 in Good, $700 in Fine, $3,000 in Mint-State 60
1932-D Washington Quarter $190 in Good, $260 in Fine, $1,600 in Mint-State 60
1932-S Washington Quarter $210 in Good, $250 in Fine, $585 in Mint-State 60
1934 Washington Quarter Doubled-Die Obverse $60 in Good, $135 in Fine, $950 in Mint-State 60
1937 Washington Quarter Doubled-Die Obverse $130 in Good, $325 in Fine, $2,650 in Mint-State 60
With the exception of 1999-S silver proof 50 state quarters, which are worth around $40 to $50 each, all proof silver quarters minted since 1992 are worth, on average, between $5 and $8 apiece.
For More Information
To find out more about the prices of silver quarters, check out the Professional Coin Grading Service’s price guide
I would also encourage you to browse through a current copy of A Guide Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett (Whitman Publications) to learn more about silver quarters, grading silver quarters, and to find out more about their values.
2/11/2010: An Update On The Values Of Silver Quarters
Some coin values are certainly on the rise while others have taken a hit. Here are revised values for some of the coins mentioned in this article which have changed significantly in value since the original publication of this piece, based on current pricing information from the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS):
1901-S Barber Quarter: $5,500 in Good, $17,500 in Fine, and $35,500 in Mint State 60
1913-S Barber Quarter: $1,750 in Good, $4,750 in Fine, and $11,000 in Mint State 60
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter: $3,600 in Good, $7,000 in Fine, and $15,000 in Mint State 60