Everything you should know about '32 - '64 quarters.

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by LA_Geezer, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    I have an outstanding collection of Washington quarters beginning with the 1944 issues—my birth year, coincidentally. After spending so much time and money on IHCs and Peace and Morgan dollars, it was rather nice to see that I could collect some very nice coins at what seems to me like bargain prices. While I am complete through 1989, I'm most interested in what the real experts here think of as the key dates for the silver ones through 1964.

    This PCGS file tells you a lot of what you need to know about the very early coins from the 1930s, but there is really very little I could find about other Washington quarters, notably those from the Forties through the Sixties before the switch to clad. PCGS points to the oddities, the irregular strikes and so on in this discussion of theirs too much to suit me. There is a wave of the hand at one early 1940s coin here, too, but as with the others discussed, the main point is the odd coins, and not necessarily those that have lower mintages.

    EBay sellers seem to think that there are lots of key date GWQs. I counted 22 different dates and mint marks called key dates in a search of their listed items, ranging from a '42-S to a 64-P. I could not find much to substantiate these claims for a key date status. I did check my records to find that I paid more for a '49-D than any others from the 1940s, yet that one didn't make it into any of the listings as a key date.

    So, in your educated opinion, what are the key date GWQs? If you have pictures, please share them.
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  3. Islander80-83

    Islander80-83 Well-Known Member

    Glad to see you're a Washington Quarter guy. Me too! Keep in mind, I'm not an expert just a hobbyist.

    I guess it depends on how deep into the weeds you wanta go regarding key dates. For me, my 32 to 64 set (all MS something's) key dates are; 32-D, 32-S and 36-D that's it. I won't trust eBay! People put anything as a description to sell it.

    Here are some others I wish I had:

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
    Paul_62, Paul M., Skyman and 2 others like this.
  4. Islander80-83

    Islander80-83 Well-Known Member

    Another question. Why do you say: "beginning with the 1944 issues"

    Doesn't your collection start at 1932?
  5. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    You won't find any others listed as key dates because there aren't any other key dates. For silver washingtons, key dates are 32D, 32S, and 36D.

    I've found a lot of people have a lot of definitions for what they consider a key date, but the basic idea is that it is worth significantly more than other dates of the series. The 49D might sell for marginally more than a 49P or something, but nothing near the 32D and S. Ebay marketing is not a good source of reliable information..

    If you want to read more about Washington quarters, I suggest you read "The Complete Guide to Washington Quarters" by John Feigenbaum. It is a bit old, but available for free on the Newman Numismatic Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/555397

    A more updated book would be the Red Book guide to Washington quarters: https://www.wizardcoinsupply.com/pr...de-book-of-washington-and-state-quarters.html

    Now, if you want to talk really, truly scarce Washingtons, here is a prooflike example:

    JPA1072 obverse.jpg JPA1072 reverse.jpg
  6. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Not yet, and none of mine are slabbed, either. I'll have to make a decision how I want to proceed. I chose the mid-forties as a starting point because both my younger brother and I were born then; the ones from the thirties I've looked at and that pass muster would have to be budgeted in. In all, and as @physics-fan3.14 has intimated, most of the ~50 silver quarters I have beginning in 1944 would grade in the MS arena, or Bu/Au at worst, yet only a few of these cost me more than $4.00; the '49-D setting me back a whopping $8.82.

    The '49-D would not make the BU grade either, but a good EF, at least. I have never been much for proof coins, and to my knowledge, I have only the new 2019 JFK pure silver cameo Half and a single ATB quarter in proof versions.

    Thanks for the mention of the Sprucecraft link, it was one of several sites I had already visited; and thanks for the mention of the Feigenbaum treatise on Washington quarters, too.

    Now, let's see some slabbed examples from the thirties!
    Seattlite86 and Islander80-83 like this.
  7. Skyman

    Skyman Well-Known Member

    From the 1940's the key date will be 1940-D. Take a look at the price guide and you'll see what I mean.

    Here's my PCGS MS65...
  8. Islander80-83

    Islander80-83 Well-Known Member

    All my slabs for my Washington Dansco were broken out.

    S20160217_001.jpg S20160217_003.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  9. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    First, modern coins tend to get easily overlooked. So, congratulations on pursuing something for your own pleasure, rather than following the crowd.

    Second, if you research The Great Silver Melt you will see that untold millions of these common coins went to the smelter. Now, true, the 32-D and 32-S were always known as rarities. Similarly, if you consult the Red Book, just looking at the mintages will tell you which ones are relatively "rare." That said, when silver went to $50 per ounce, it took more than marginal rarity to save a coin. I am looking at the 1940-D; 1946-D; 1955-D; and others with fewer than 10 million struck.

    But consider that nominally very common coins may now be somewhat harder to find than you might expect. One way to know, as a sampling, is to see if a local coin dealer will let you search their bulk barrels. Many dealers have plastic 5-gallon tubs with common silver. I filled most of a Whitman Mercury Dime book that way.

    Third, not only were fewer coins struck in 1932 (P-D-S) because of the Great Depression, but those same hard times prevented people from setting the coins aside. Even ordinary people who were not numismatists have historically set aside the first year or last year of issue of a coin. But 1932 did not see that, so uncirculateds and other high collector grades are truly rare.
  10. Islander80-83

    Islander80-83 Well-Known Member

  11. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    While you make some great points, the Great Silver Melt largely took place before TPG certification was commonplace. In the intervening years, many high grade coins have been submitted for certification. If you look at the census for these coins, pretty much all of the dates have pretty similar certified populations. None is markedly scarcer than any other.
    kaparthy likes this.
  12. Islander80-83

    Islander80-83 Well-Known Member

  13. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Every individuals key dates are usually gonna be the hardest to fill in the Dansco. Or type set,
    I find it difficult as I grow to find coins that are suitable for my collection.
    LA_Geezer likes this.
  14. WashQuartJesse

    WashQuartJesse Member Supporter


    I wish I still could, but I used to scour the shows for what I'd consider an acceptable raw 63 or 64. Most of these would grade a point or two higher, today... honestly.

    There were some business strike dates/mm ('32-'98) that I had a difficult time locating. Marketplace availability was limited (as was my online buying). I'd have to do some focused reflecting and maybe even push that 1990 Berry Bros. Glen Moray scotch aside for an evening or two, but yes... there were some tougher dates based on my experience (quality un-circulated). I pointed it out when I posted my "collection," but a certain dealer in Clearwater, FL gave me the opportunity to take my pick of or off his remaining original roll of an early 40's coin, I believe. That was great, to have multiple options in front of me. No slabs, no Crack, no BS, just us and that coin.

    I remember one late silver issue giving me issues as well, but I was mostly an in-hand purchaser at that time. With all of that said, and the BB in hand, it was the clads that presented the real challenge. I've grabbed examples of the issues I found most difficult to locate.
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  15. WashQuartJesse

    WashQuartJesse Member Supporter


    That '46 is something to behold. Thank you for sharing!
    LA_Geezer likes this.
  16. EyeAppealingCoins

    EyeAppealingCoins Well-Known Member

    Keys/Semi-Keys:32-D, 32-S, 36-D
    Condition rarities: Many in MS67, MS67+, or MS68 (outside the real and scope of most normal coin collections)
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  17. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

  18. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Becoming a member here did the same to me. Perhaps it's peer pressure. I may have to follow the lead of @Islander80-83 and seek out some certified early thirties as seen in his post #11.

    @WashQuartJesse you might consider this close to a miracle, but as it would happen a little over a year ago I found both a '63 and a '64 in AU condition in the reject bin of a Coin Star machine. They came to me just a week apart. I also found a British Two Pound Sterling coin in that very same machine about a month later, but nothing since. It's as if the soup nazi on Seinfeld was saying, "No coins for you" after that. Kudos on that Scotch—my favorite potable until the Doctor banned all such drinks. Nothing stronger than regular coffee for me since 1998.
    Islander80-83 likes this.
  19. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Somehow I just cannot cotton to the idea of sending a common date coin for which I paid $4 or less to a TPG, no matter how good it looks. Over the next week or so, I might foist my crappy photography onto this thread, if it survives.
    Randy Abercrombie and kaparthy like this.
  20. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the suggestion. I did not consider that.

    I went to PCGS and looked at the population report for Washington quarters. It is as you say, all within an order of magnitude pretty much. I do note some rarer varieties, such as the 1937 and 1942-D DDOs.

    It depends on how you feel about them. For some people, if you are assembling a Year-Mint Set of Washington Quarters, that you want the 34-P Heavy Motto.

    But it does not float my boat to assemble a collection just by deciding that you want it and buying them all right now. That defeats the "collector's ethic" of pursuit.
    LA_Geezer likes this.
  21. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Varieties are almost always going to be scarcer. They are almost always going to cost more because of that.

    And, many set collectors ignore them. If you're building a set "with varieties" then key varieties may emerge even on common date coins - but that's not really a key date.
    LA_Geezer likes this.
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