What makes a 1966 quarter rare? The 1966 quarter is one of the most sought-after coins for collectors. If you happen to have a 1966 quarter, it may be worth examining closely to see if yours is a rare and valuable variety.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The 1966 quarter can be valuable if it has a doubled die obverse, is silver, or has an error like a clipped planchet. Regular 1966 quarters in average circulated condition have minimal value above face value.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the different factors that can make a 1966 Washington quarter rare and valuable for coin collectors. We’ll look at the doubled die variety, silver composition quarters, and error coins like clipped planchets that bring high premiums over face value.

Doubled Die 1966 Quarters

Description of Doubled Die Quarters

The doubled die error on 1966 quarters occurs when the die used to strike the coin is doubled, resulting in overlapping details on the coin’s design. This happens during the minting process when impressions from multiple strikes are not perfectly aligned.

On 1966 quarters specifically, the most obvious doubling occurs on the word “LIBERTY” and on the radial lines of the coin’s reverse image.

These doubled details make the coin very rare and valuable to collectors and numismatists. In uncirculated condition, a 1966 doubled die quarter can be worth over $1,000. Even circulated examples in G-4 condition can sell for around $300-400.

Out of the over 821,101,500 1966 Washington quarters produced, only an estimated 40,000 feature the doubled die error. This scarcity greatly increases the coin’s value.

Value of 1966 Doubled Die Quarters

As mentioned, uncirculated examples of the rare 1966 doubled die quarter can sell for over $1,000. Circulated coins in very good condition still fetch impressive prices as well. For example, a G-4 grade 1966 doubled die quarter recently sold at auction for $336.

Lower grades can still sell for $100-200 even in a more worn F-12 state.

These substantial prices highlight the coin’s scarcity and popularity with collectors. While there were over 821,101,500 quarters minted in 1966, the doubling error only occurred on a tiny fraction of the mint run.

Experts estimate that just 1 in every 45,000 1966 quarters feature this dramatic doubled die design. This rarity greatly inflates the value, allowing even circulated examples to sell for a nice premium.

Error Silver Composition 1966 Quarters

Background on 90% Silver Quarters

Up until 1964, all quarter dollars minted in the United States for circulation contained 90% silver. This means that 1966 quarter did not contained silver, yet there are some small amounts of error coins minted on silver planchets by mistake. However, increased silver prices in the early 1960s led to silver coins being hoarded by individuals for their intrinsic metal value.

Hence, in 1965, the composition of the quarter dollar was changed to have a copper-nickel clad composition with no silver content.

Unlike modern clad quarters with no precious metal value, these 90% silver coins maintain inherent value tied to the spot price of silver. Even very worn silver quarters have a melt value—the value of the raw silver metal they contain—which changes based on the market price of silver.

This gives to earlier quarters potential value to coin collectors and silver stackers beyond the 25 cent face value.

Melt Value of 1966 Silver Quarters

With silver currently priced around $23 per ounce, a worn 90% silver Washington quarter has a melt value around $4.30 in precious metal content. Uncirculated examples in pristine condition can fetch $5 or more from buyers looking to melt the coins for their silver.

Of course, this baseline silver value fluctuates in correlation with changes in spot silver prices. If silver sharply increased to $50 per ounce, the same circulated quarter would suddenly be worth almost $10 just for its silver!

Collector Value of Uncirculated 1966 Quarters

The uncirculated examples graded MS-65 or higher by PCGS or NGC can sell for significant collectible premiums. This is because pristine uncirculated coins from the 60’s are relative rarities that were quickly lost from circulation through wear and tear.

A 1966 quarter in MS-65 condition may sell for $15-25 on eBay, while an MS-67 coin could auction for $75-100 or more.

1966 Quarter Errors

Overview of Error Coins

Coin errors occur when there is an issue with the minting process that results in irregularities in the coin’s design or metal content. Some key things that can go awry include:

  • Improper planchet size – The blank disk of metal is the wrong thickness.
  • Weak strike – The coin blank does not receive the full imprint of the dies.
  • Double strike – The coin is struck multiple times by the dies.
  • Off-center strike – The design is pressed off to one side.

Coins with errors tend to have more numismatic value to collectors than normal specimens. The 1966 Washington quarter was produced in enormous quantities, with over 1.7 billion struck across three mints. So errors stand out as true rarities.

Clipped Planchet Quarters

One dramatic type of improper planchet error occurs when the feeder system cuts a section out of the blank. This leaves a curved clip or straight-edged notch in the coin’s circumference. It is known as a clipped planchet.

On 1966 quarters, this would remove part of Washington’s profile or the coin’s lettered edge.

Clipped planchet errors are scarce in the Washington quarter series during the 1960s. Perhaps a few hundred examples exist out of the billions produced. An authenticated 1966 clipped quarter recently sold for $485 at auction, compared to $6 for a normal uncirculated specimen.

Other Errors Like Off-Center Strikes

Off-center strikes happen when a blank gets slightly misaligned between the two dies during minting. This causes the images to imprint significantly closer to one edge. On 1966 Washington quarters, a dramatic off-center can shift the portrait or lettering radically to the rim.

Lower grade off-centers trade for around $50-100, while Mint State examples bring $200-500.

Other less common errors include double strikes, where multiple impressions overlay each other. These can generate highly unusual images. Counterfeits abound due to the rarity, but genuine specimens have sold for upwards of $1,200.

There are also examples of 1966 quarters struck on defective planchets with curved clips, cracks, or laminations. These retail for roughly $75-150 for lower grade pieces.

Condition and Grading Factors

Impact of Condition on Value

The condition of a 1966 quarter plays a pivotal role in determining its value to collectors. A coin’s grade gives an indication of its level of preservation and rarity. Higher-graded specimens tend to fetch considerably higher market prices.

Key grading aspects involve the amount of contact marks, evidence of cleaning, quality of the strike, and eye appeal.

Per the PCGS CoinFacts, a 1966 Washington quarter in pristine Mint State (MS) 65 condition could trade for $8 – $15. Meanwhile, an MS63-graded piece may only sell for $3 – $5. At the lower Extremely Fine grades, values drop below $1.

Besides condition rarity, certified coins encapsulated by top services like PCGS or NGC tend to garner stronger premiums in the market. Slabbing authenticates the grade and preserves the condition. Raw coins not certified may trade at a discount of 20% or more relative to graded examples.

Grading Services for Authentication & Encapsulation

The two predominant third-party grading companies are:

These services assign numeric grades per the Sheldon scale from 1 through 70. Coins are objectively evaluated by multiple experts against standardized criteria for characteristics like luster, strikes, toning, wear, marks, etc. The stringent assessment lends credibility.

PCGS Grades General Condition
MS/PF 60-70 No wear, Mint luster
About Unc 50-58 Trace friction, nearly uncirculated
XF 40-45 Light wear on high points
VF 20-35 Very light wear on most details

Coins certified MS60 or higher are generally regarded investment quality. NGC and PCGS-graded specimens in pristine condition may trade for impressive premiums. For example, a 1966 quarter graded MS67 could retail around $275 versus $1-$5 for most typical raw uncirculated examples.

Where to Sell 1966 Rare Quarters

eBay Auctions

eBay is one of the most popular online auction platforms for buying and selling coins, including potentially valuable 1966 quarters. With over 159 million active users globally, eBay offers an enormous base of active collectors and investors looking for rare finds.

To sell your 1966 quarter on eBay:

  • Create an eBay seller account if you don’t already have one
  • Take clear, high-quality photos of both sides of the coin
  • Write an informative title and description detailing the coin’s key dates, mint marks, condition, and rarity
  • Select competitive pricing based on current market rates for similar coins
  • Consider starting the auction at a low opening bid to attract interest

The upside of eBay is you’ll likely get strong exposure and bids from many buyers. The downside is that eBay takes a 10% cut of the final selling price. You’ll need to factor this into your pricing strategy.

Coin Dealers and Shops

For those looking for a quicker, more convenient way to sell their valuable 1966 quarter, brick-and-mortar coin dealerships and shops may be the way to go. According to data from University of Notre Dame, there are over 4,800 rare coin and precious metal dealers operating in the US alone.

The major advantage of selling to a coin shop is you can walk away with cash-in-hand immediately. You also avoid fees. The main drawback is taking the time to physically visit shops, assess their trustworthiness, and compare buy offers.

Experts suggest calling dealerships ahead to see if they deal in early date quarters. Ask questions about their buying process, percentage payout compared to market value, and payment timelines.

Coin Shows

Coin shows provide a centralized event where collectors, investors, and coin shop owners all gather to buy, sell, trade rare currency. There are hundreds of high-profile coin shows held annually across the US.

According to stats from the American Numismatic Association (ANA):

  • Over 115 major US coin shows are held each year
  • Shows can attract anywhere from 50 to over 1,000 dealers and 10,000+ attendees
  • The average visitor spends $2,850 at these events

For those looking to sell a valuable 1966 quarter, popular shows like the ANA World’s Fair of Money, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo, or FUN Show can provide exposure to endless buyers.

Coin shows eliminate the need to negotiate with individual shops. You also avoid eBay fees. The main disadvantages are event entry fees, travel costs, and time spent assessing potential buyers.

What Makes A 1966 Quarter Rare – 

We’ve covered all the different factors like doubled dies, silver composition, errors, condition, and grading that make some 1966 Washington quarters much more valuable than regular quarters in circulation.

While most 1966 quarters have little collector value, check yours closely against these indicators of rarity and value to see if yours is a hidden gem.

With key dates like the 1955 doubled die cent and the 1982 no-mint-mark Roosevelt dime selling for insane amounts, it pays to always be on the lookout when searching through pocket change. Use a coin microscope if needed to inspect the details, and compare any odd-looking quarters against photos of authenticated pieces online or in coin books.

If you believe yours is rare and valuable, get it professionally appraised and authenticated by reputable coin grading companies like PCGS or NGC before selling to maximize the sale value. With mintage over 1.7 billion, valuable 1966 quarters are few and far between but could still be discovered.

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