Collecting coins, quarters, pennies, and nickels is one of the most interesting hobbies out there. Rare, old coins provide a truly interesting insight into the history of the States, as well as into the history of the times when the coin was made; one can find out so much just from a tiny coin.
So, you’ve come across what is nowadays referred to as the 1957 Washington Quarter, and are looking for some answers. Luckily, we’ve gathered all of the essential information regarding the coin’s history, composition, and value, all in one place. The following information may be of great help if you’re looking to sell, or even buy a Washington quarter. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
The 1957 Washington Quarter
A Brief History Overview
Before we get into the worth and value stuff, it is essential to learn a little bit about the history of the Washington quarter. The 1957 quarter is a coin that was minted in the United States of America in the year 1957. This coin, like all other quarters that were produced at the time, was made of 90% silver and 10% copper. It was created as part of a series of quarters that were minted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the first President of the United States, George Washington, hence the reference to it as the Washington quarter, even nowadays.
The design of the 1957 quarter features the image of George Washington on the obverse side. The portrait was originally created by John Flanagan (U.S. sculptor) in 1932 and was later used on the quarter as well as other denominations of coins. The image of Washington is surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and QUARTER DOLLAR.
The reverse side of the 1957 quarter features an eagle with wings spread wide. The eagle is clutching an olive branch in one talon and arrows in the other. Above the eagle’s head is the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM, which is Latin for ‘out of many, one’. Beneath the eagle is the denomination QUARTER DOLLAR.
The Composition and Production
The 1957 quarter is a highly sought-after coin among collectors due to its historical significance and rarity. It is considered a key date in the Washington quarter series because it has the lowest mintage of any quarter produced in the 1950s. The total mintage for the 1957 quarter was only 16,808,000, which is significantly lower than the mintage for other years in the 1950s.
One reason for the low mintage of the 1957 quarter is that there was no real demand for quarters at the time. In the 1950s, the dime and the half-dollar were the most commonly used coins in circulation. The quarter wasn’t actually as frequently used as one might expect. As a result, fewer quarters were minted, making them much more difficult to find today, which increases their current value significantly.
Another reason for the low mintage of the 1957 quarter is that many of them were melted down for their silver content. In the 1960s and 1970s, the price of silver rose significantly, making it more profitable to melt down silver coins and sell the metal than to keep the coins themselves. This caused many 1957 quarters to be destroyed, further reducing the number of coins available today, and increasing their scarcity and collectors’ demand.
The Quarter Value
Despite its rarity, the 1957 quarter is still relatively affordable for collectors. In average condition, a 1957 quarter can be purchased for around 5 or 6 USD, while coins in excellent condition can sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars; the highest price ever paid for a 1957 MS quarter was around 3,800 USD. The value of a 1957 quarter is largely determined by its condition, with coins that are well-preserved and free from damage commanding higher prices; more on that in the following paragraphs.
Collectors who are interested in acquiring a 1957 quarter should be aware of the various factors that can affect its value. These include the condition of the coin, the rarity of the specific mintmark, and whether or not the coin has been certified by a reputable grading service. Certified coins are typically more valuable because they have been independently evaluated and authenticated, giving buyers confidence in the coin’s quality and authenticity.
When it comes to grading the Washington quarter, it is essential to determine whether it is in exceptional or fine condition. Why is that important? Let’s take a closer look;
- Uncirculated – a Washington quarter deemed uncirculated is a coin that spent no time being exchanged, or in circulation; this means no one used it, and it wasn’t released to the public. Such a quarter has the appearance of coins that have just been minted, which increases its value to a premium price. Such a coin draws the attention of collectors who are willing to pay even more than the established value.
- Extremely fine – a Washington quarter deemed extremely fine is a coin that has spent little time being exchanged. It generally shows almost no sight of wear and tear, and it will appear pristine at first, but looking closely you might notice some scratches. Even so, such coins have a high value and are in great demand by collectors.
- Fine – such a Washington quarter is a coin that has been released into circulation and exchange. As such, it has some imperfections and signs of wear and tear. Nevertheless, the imagery and inscription seemingly remain untouched; meaning, it is still visible and can easily be made out just by looking at it.
- Good – such a Washington quarter is in generally good condition, but as a coin that has been circulating and exchanged it shows a lot of signs of wear and imperfections. Generally, the damage can range from surface damage, like scratches and wear or the imagery or inscriptions, to the very bending of the coin. Washington quarters in good condition aren’t in the best shape, but they’re affordable and still a good addition to one’s coin collection.
Because of low minting numbers, the 1957 Washington quarter is considered rather rare. But, even when one does come across such a quarter it is often in fine or good condition. Nevertheless, it is still a great addition to one’s coin collection, due to its historical value and a general appreciation for what it represents; old times, when things were different, but also the same.
In addition to its value as a collectible, the 1957 quarter is also a symbol of America’s rich history and heritage. It is a reminder of the great men and women who have helped to shape our nation and the ideals that we hold dear. As such, it is a coin that should be cherished and preserved for future generations to enjoy, rather than just preserving it for its value and price if to be sold or bought.