The Bicentennial Quarter, produced to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the United States, holds a higher value than other coins due to its historical significance. This article will explore the coin’s background, design, and other pertinent information.
1. Bicentennial Quarter Historical Background
In 1975 and 1976, the U.S. Mint issued the bicentennial quarter in anticipation of the nation’s 200th anniversary. Production began a year early to discourage hoarding of the coins. This circulating commemorative coin was one of many produced during the 1970s.
Because circulation striking grade coins were produced in the billions. Beautiful specimens are widely accessible in the market. However, quality was compromised in order to increase numbers, particularly high-grade coins which can fetch several thousand dollars.
In 1973, Jack L. Ahr’s design was chosen as the winner of an open competition held by the Treasury, resulting in the creation of the reverse image. Subsequently, the temporary Bicentennial reverse graphics were applied to the Kennedy half-dollar and Eisenhower dollar for 1976, meaning that none of these American currency denominations bear the year “1975.”
Circulation of the three Bicentennial coins began in 1976, marking the end of a 22-year suspension of the “classic” U.S. commemorative coin program, which had been in place since 1954. The Philadelphia and Denver Mint locations of the United States Mint produced over one billion quarters between them. The value of a Bicentennial quarter dollar coin is largely dependent on its condition; the better its condition, the more valuable it is.
2. Bicentennial Coins Design
The reverse of the Bicentennial Quarter, designed to commemorate America’s 200th anniversary of proclaiming freedom in 1776, features a colonial revolutionary drummer painted by Jack L. Ahr. The design is completed by thirteen stars surrounding a flame to the left of the soldier.
The victory torch, beneath which is carved the national anthem “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” symbolizes the Origin State. The reverse of the United States of America quarter dollar bears the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in an arch around the head of a drummer boy. The lower half of the reverse displays the words “QUARTER DOLLAR,” and the initials “JLA” are located beneath the left arm of the soldier.
3. 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Mintage
The U.S. Mint produced over 1 billion bicentennial quarters, beginning their mintage in 1975, one year prior to their sale. This was done in order
to discourage hoarding of the unique coins.
In 1974, the Mint began accepting pre-orders for 40% silver numismatic groups at a cost of $9 per set. Additionally, copper-nickel clad and example sets were available for $7 and $6 respectively. Subsequently, a slightly redesigned version was produced and marketed until 1986.
The US Mint prioritized making sure the public had access to these unique quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins, as they were widely believed to appreciate over time. To meet this goal, the Mint utilized its facilities in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco for production :
- Philadelphia: 809,784,016 coins.
- Denver: 860,118,839 coins.
- San Francisco: 6,995,180 cupronickel clad.
4. Bicentennial Quarter Value and Prices
The value of a bicentennial quarter can vary significantly, depending on the coin’s condition and rarity. Auction prices and values are determined
by reputable coin grading agencies such as PCGS and NGC. Variations of the quarter dollar that stand out as more valuable than others can range from the coin’s face value and melt value up to hundreds of dollars.
4.1 Philadelphia Quarters
The considerable demand and expectation for the Philadelphia 1976 bicentennial quarter release necessitated a prioritization of quantity over quality, with all coins produced in cupronickel-clad composition.
4.1.1 MS65 Regular Strike Washington Quarter
Preserved 1976 Washington quarters in Mint State 65 condition are a common find in pocket money and are worth more than their face value. Auctions
for these bicentennial quarters typically range from $6 to $10.
4.1.2 MS66 / MS67 Regular Strike Washington Quarter
The MS66 and MS67 bicentennial quarters, released in 1976, are not uncommon, though their value varies depending on condition. An MS66 coin can range from $15 to $40, while an MS67 can be worth anywhere from $35 to $127.
4.1.3 MS67+ / MS68 Regular Strike Washington Quarter
Philadelphia Bicentennial quarters can be graded as high as MS67+, although no coins in Mint State 68 or higher have ever been discovered. To date, no MS67+ coins have been auctioned, though experts estimate their value to be $2850.
4.2 Denver Quarters
The United States Mint’s Denver branch struck all of its quarters with cupronickel clad, using significantly superior conditions. To gain further insight, let us examine some of these quarters.
MS68 Regular Strike Washington Quarter
Washington Regular Strike coins graded MS68 are highly sought after by collectors, who consider them to be rare and valuable.
Collectors must be prepared to pay a substantial amount for the quarter, with prices ranging from $3220 to $6463.
4.3 San Francisco Quarters
The United States Mint assigned the San Francisco branch to produce proof coins for the Bicentennial, including Washington quarters with an “S” mintmark that resembles Denver’s. These coins feature a polished and mirror-like appearance, and include dollar and half-dollar denominations.
There are three primary types:
4.3.1 Clad Proof Bicentennial Quarter
Approximately 7 million metal-proof dual date quarters were minted, with recent auctions seeing the sale of pieces with a deep cameo finish ranging from $7 to $50 for PR69 grade and from $77 to $93 for PR70 grade.
4.3.2 Silver Proof Bicentennial Quarter
Approximately 4 million proof metal quarters were minted by the San Francisco Mint, composed of 60% copper and 40% silver. Deep cameo PR69 specimens are valued between $15 and $40, while uncirculated PR70 examples are priced at approximately $139 to $250.
4.3.3 Silver Uncirculated Bicentennial Quarter
The Bay Area’s production of a metal half dollar, rather than the conventional copper composition, is one of the reasons why this coin is valuable
today. Philadelphia and Denver produced traditional quarters, but the Bay Area struck a half dollar.
Silver 1976 Bicentennial Quarters are highly sought after due to their lower mintage and higher metal content, making them more valuable than other quarters. The approximate value of these coins ranges from $23 to $144, while an MS69 grade can cost anywhere from $5060 to $19200.
4.4 Valuable Varieties
The 1976 Bicentennial quarter is a commemorative release, easily distinguishable from other quarters. However, certain uncommon variations with coin flaws can significantly increase the value of the quarter.
4.4.1 Doubled Die Quarter
Collectors have discovered a few bicentennial quarters with doubled dies, which occur when an improperly manufactured coinage press strikes a quarter and the inscriptions on the reverse and obverse of the coin are duplicated. These rare coins have fetched prices ranging from $810 to $3246 at auction.
4.4.2 Overstruck Bicentennial Quarters
Overstruck coins, such as bicentennial quarters struck on a dime, are highly sought after due to their individualized content and rarity. Recently, one such example sold at auction for an impressive $12000, making it a valuable addition to any coin collection.
4.4.3 Struck Through Quarters
Clothing entering the striking chambers of a coin mint can cause a unique type of error, which can be identified by the distinctive weave pattern on the obverse side. At auction, a coin in MS66 condition recently sold for $881.25.
This article provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the value of Bicentennial Quarters. With a wealth of information available on this coin, it is no wonder that so many people are curious about its worth. Read on to learn more about this fascinating coin.
4.5.1 How Many Bicentennial Quarters Were Made?
In 1976, to commemorate the bicentennial, the U.S. Mint produced over 1.6 billion quarters across three of its locations: Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.
The Philadelphia and Denver branches assumed responsibility for the annual quarter’s business strike, while the San Francisco Mint produced proof and uncirculated copies in metal and copper-nickel clad for currency traders.
4.5.2 Are There Any 1975 Quarters?
In 1975, the United States Mint was tasked with creating a new design for the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins to commemorate America’s bicentennial. Due to the limited production of these coins, they may have become scarce and were likely to be taken out of circulation by collectors.
Due to the extended production time of bicentennial coins, President Gerald Ford passed legislation to ensure a sufficient supply of 1975 coins by
continuing the production of 1974 coins until the striking of bicentennial coins commenced. This was done to prevent future scarcity.
4.5.3 How Rare Are Bicentennial Quarters?
The 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial quarter is a highly sought-after coin, with the rarest being the 1976 MS67+, 1976-D MS68, and 1976-S MS69 Silver quarters. Error coins, such as those with a doubled die, overstruck, or struck-through design, are especially valuable.
At the American Numismatic Association conference, a limited number of 1976-S Silver Proof quarters were produced without the “S” mintmark for President Gerald Ford and his secretary. The current whereabouts of these coins is unknown.
Bicentennial coins remain a viable option for coin traders and collectors, despite their decreasing availability. An uncirculated 40% silver coin can be purchased for approximately $14, while a 40% 3-proof set is valued at over $18. Metal-clad sets are typically priced at less than $8. Unfortunately, circulating Bicentennial coins are only worth their face value.
The bicentennial quarter has become a symbol of the 200th anniversary of the United States, and its history and uniqueness have been explored in this article. Highly sought after by collectors, these quarters are rare and valuable. For further information on the bicentennial quarter, please visit this website.
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