1944 was a year of war and death. The Allies landed in Normandy and fought their way to Paris. Hitler survived a bomb in his bunker and killed his enemies. The Soviet Union encircled Nazi Germany from the East by marching through Poland, Romania, Finland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia.
But 1944 was also a year of treasure and history. The US Mint produced millions of silver quarters with George Washington’s face on them. They were shiny and new then. Now they are rare and old. Some of them are worth more well over ten thousand dollars.
The 1944 quarter was the highest mintage pre-1962 Washington quarter, with over 132 million pieces produced. But not all 1944 quarters are equally valuable. Some have errors or variations that make them more desirable to collectors. For example, some quarters have a doubled die obverse, meaning that the design on the front was struck twice, creating a doubled image.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the 1944 quarters. What makes them valuable, how many were minted, and what is their market value today.
The History of the 1944 Quarter
The 1944 quarter was made of silver. It was a good quarter. It had a bald eagle on one side and George Washington on the other. It was worth twenty-five cents. You could buy many things with a quarter in 1944. You could buy a cup of coffee, a newspaper, a pack of cigarettes, or a stamp. You could also save it for something bigger, like a book, a movie ticket, or a bottle of whiskey.
The 1944 quarter was also rare. It was one of the last quarters made of silver. The war was going on, and they needed the metal for bullets, planes, and tanks. They started making quarters out of copper and nickel in 1945. They looked the same, but they felt different. They were lighter and cheaper and not as shiny.
Some people liked the new quarters. They said they were modern and practical, and patriotic. They said they helped the war effort and the economy. They said they were the future.
Some people hated the new quarters. They said they were ugly and fake and worthless. They said they betrayed the tradition, history, and beauty of the old quarters. They said they were the past.
Nonetheless, the series ran until 1998, proving to be a massive success among the general populace.
Evaluating a 1944 Quarter
The chief concern you should have when you first get a 1944 quarter in your hand should be its authenticity. Is it a real, genuine coin from 1944, or is it a reproduction whose goal is to scam you?
Establishing authenticity takes some effort, but it’s well worth it. Grab a caliper and a scale. If you want to go extra professional about it, also grab a simple circuit and a magnet.
First, measure the coin’s diameter. If it’s different from 24.30 millimeters, you are dealing with a dud. Next, weigh the coin on your scale. You’re looking at a coin that is supposed to weigh 6.30 grams. If the scale disagrees, you’re, again, dealing with a dud.
Here’s where the more advanced analysis begins. The 1944 quarter is made of 90% silver and 10% copper, two metals that have great conductivity. If the coin completes the circuit and gets the bulb to activate, it’s likely made of the correct metals. As for the magnet, it should not be able to attract the coin, since silver and copper are nonferrous metals.
Once you’ve figured out the coin’s authenticity, it’s time to do an in-depth evaluation.
Establishing the Coin’s Value
This passage is a mix of art and science. To evaluate a coin, you’ll need a grading chart and a magnifying glass or loupe.
Here’s what you need to check:
- The coin’s condition: This value refers to how closely the coin resembles the original design. The magnifying glass’ purpose is to help you spot chips or scratches invisible to the naked eye. Compare the currency you have with the grading chat and assign a value between 0 and 70, with coins graded 0 being barely recognizable and coins graded 70 being perfect.
- The coin’s rarity: Rarity is directly correlated to condition and depends on a coin’s surviving population and history. First, better-quality coins tend to be rarer and, thus, more valuable. Second, the surviving population suggests how likely it is to find a currency of a specific condition, influencing its rarity. Last, the coin’s history refers to coins that, for example, belonged to historical figures. Take a coin owned by a random citizen vs. one owned by Roosevelt himself. Which one would be more valuable?
- The coin’s aesthetic: Aesthetic value, while subjective, heavily impacts a coin’s worth. Coins with peculiar coloration or attractive luster sell for more than coins with everyday looks.
- The coin’s mint mark: The mint mark tells us where the coin was minted. In the case of 1944 quarters, the Philadelphia mint (symbolized by the lack of a mint mark on the coin) created the vast majority of them — almost 105 million. For comparison, Denver and San Francisco minted 14.6 and 12.5 million quarters, respectively, making them much rarer.
Here’s a video guide on how to evaluate 1944 quarters:
Next, let’s look at the market value of 1944 quarters, to give you a better idea of how much you should expect to spend when shopping for one.
The Market Value of the 1944 Quarter
There are many places where someone can find old coins that tell stories of the past.
Some go to eBay, where they bid against strangers for shiny metal that may or may not be worth more than they pay. Others visit antique coin shops, where they browse through glass cases and talk to experts who know the history and value of each piece. And then there are those who go to auction houses, where they sit in rows of chairs and watch as the auctioneer raises his gavel and calls out numbers that make their hearts race.
These are the places where a person can satisfy their hunger for coins, or lose their fortune in a moment of folly.
We created a list of coins with their relative value to help you avoid the latter and succeed by doing the former.
Editor’s note: There are little surviving coins graded below 60.
1944 Quarter – Poor to Fine (Grades 0 to 15)
Coins graded 0 to 15 are the lowest in quality and value. They are worn out, scratched, or damaged by time and use. They have no beauty or charm, only the dullness of metal. But, the dullness can still be valuable to people.
Prices in this category start at $8:
1944 Quarter – Very Fine to About Uncirculated (Grades 20 to 58)
Coins graded 20 to 58 are of moderate to high quality and value. They show some signs of wear or circulation and have some marks or scratches, but not severe or distracting. They are desirable and collectible coins.
The cheapest coin starts at $11:
- This AU58-S coin sold for $11
- This AU58 coin sold for $46
- This AU55 coin sold for $59
- This AU55-S coin sold for $150
1944 Quarter – Uncirculated to Select Uncirculated (Grades 60 to 63)
Coins graded 60 to 63 are of high quality and value. They have no wear, but may have some marks or hairlines. They are well struck, but may have some weakness in the details.
Prices start at $9:
- This MS62 coin sold for $9
- This MS63-D coin sold for $15
- This MS63-S coin sold for $25
- This MS63 coin sold for $37
- This MS60 coin sold for $75
- This MS63-D coin sold for $144
Two coins in this category stand out:
1944 Quarter – Choice & Gem Uncirculated (64 to 66)
Coins graded 64 to 66 are of very high quality and value. They have no wear, but may have some minor marks or hairlines. They are very well struck, with sharp details and luster.
Prices start at $11:
- This MS64 coin sold for $11
- This MS64-D coin sold for $13
- This MS65-S coin sold for $16
- This MS65 coin sold for $20
- This MS65-S coin sold for $23
- This MS65-D coin sold for $23
Prices then slowly rise and start stabilizing around the $150 mark:
- This MS66+ coin sold for $129
- This MS66+-S coin sold for $141
- This MS65-D coin sold for $165
- This MS66-D coin sold for $200
The most expensive coins in this category breach the $1,000 mark:
1944 Quarter – Superb & Perfect Uncirculated (Grades 67 to 70)
Coins graded 67 to 70 are of the highest quality and value. They have no wear, and no or nearly imperceptible marks or hairlines. They are fully or sharply struck, with flawless or nearly flawless details and luster. These are the finest and most desirable coins.
Prices start at $39:
- This MS67-D coin sold for $39
- This MS67 coin sold for $48
- This MS67-S coin sold for $60
- This MS67-D coin sold for $76
- This MS67 coin sold for $92
- This MS67-S coin sold for $102
Prices then slowly rise, and many coins cluster up at around $350-$700:
- This MS67 coin sold for $374
- This MS67-S coin sold for $411
- This MS67-D coin sold for $489
- This MS67CAC coin sold for $558
- This MS67-D coin sold for $690
- This MS67+-S coin sold for $780
Many coins here sell for well over $1,000:
- This MS68-D coin sold for $1,763
- This MS67+-S coin sold for $2,233
- This MS67-D coin sold for $4,600
- This MS68-S coin sold for $7,200
- This MS67+ coin sold for $8,050
A few coins managed to breach the $10,000 price mark:
- This MS68-S coin sold for $10,350
- This MS68-D coin sold for $10,575
- This MS68 coin sold for $10,800
- This MS68-S coin sold for $14,950
- This MS68CAC-S coin sold for $16,100
The record sale in this category belongs to this MS68 coin that sold for $16,800.
1944 Quarter Minting Errors
Minting errors can vastly increase a coin’s value. Here are the known minting errors in the 1944 quarters:
- Double die obverse: Sometimes, the coin gets hit twice by the machine that makes it, and the letters and dates on the front look like they have a shadow. It’s hard to see; you need a glass to look closely. It happens to coins from all mints.
- Flanagan’s initials error: The man who made the picture of Washington on the coin put his initials “JF” on his neck. But in 1944, they changed the coin a bit, and his initials got messed up or gone. The mints fixed it in 1945.
- Off-center strike: Sometimes, the coin doesn’t sit right in the machine and comes out crooked. Part of the edge of the picture is missing or cut off. It makes the currency look bad and feel wrong. It’s not a big deal; it happens a lot and doesn’t make the coin worth much more.
- Wrong planchet: Sometimes, the coin gets made out of the wrong metal, like a dime or a nickel. It makes the coin smaller or bigger or heavier or lighter than it should be. It can make the coin worth much money. It’s a rare thing and a big mistake.
If you find a coin with any of these, you may be sitting on a goldmine.
The 1944 quarter is a fascinating coin that offers something for every collector. Whether you are looking for a typical silver quarter, a rare error coin, or something in between, you can find it among the millions of 1944 quarters that were minted.
However, be careful of fakes and forgeries that may try to deceive you with altered dates or mint marks. Always buy from reputable dealers and check the coin’s weight and diameter to ensure it is authentic.
The 1944 quarter is more than just a piece of metal. It is a piece of history that reflects the spirit of a nation at war and the legacy of its first president.
Good luck with your search, and remember: if you can’t figure out a coin’s value, there are professional appraisers who will gladly do so for a fee.
Happy collecting, and may you enjoy the hobby and appreciate the beauty and history of each coin.