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1932-D Washington Quarter : A Collector’s Guide

1932-D Washington Quarter. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.
1932-D Washington Quarter. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
1932 was a seminal year for the U.S. quarter.

The United States Mint had concluded the design process of the commemorative quarter destined to mark George Washington’s birthday bicentennial and was ready to begin striking the coins by 1931. Released in 1932, this design would soon become one of the most recognizable worldwide and continue with only minor changes for 67 years until 1999, when the Mint began the 50 State Quarters series. Despite this long-term success, the country was in the depths of the Great Depression, and the economy was not able to handle the total mintage produced over 1932 across all mints: 5,404,000 in Philadelphia, 436,800 in Denver, and 408,000 in San Francisco.

Interestingly, mintage numbers from Denver and San Francisco were initially tied to the number of quarters that collectors bought from the Mint. Since demand seemed to falter after 15,000 to 20,000 coins, the Treasury Department ordered continued striking at these facilities. However, because these coins were not considered especially beautiful, they were not collected by wealthy numismatists. Also, as the size of the coin-collecting hobby at the time was dwarfed by even this low mintage, many examples were eventually put into circulation, resulting in a scarcity of coins in MS-65 or higher.

It wasn’t until World War II and later that demand for these coins truly started to grow. At this time, many examples that survived in mid to high grades were pulled from circulation.

In fact, while the 1932-S has a slightly lower mintage than the 1932-D quarter, they are somewhat more common; perhaps collectors initially saved the 1932-S at a slightly higher rate. Regardless, since both dates are relatively easy to acquire in lower grades, condition is the important factor.

What Is the 1932-D Washington Quarter Worth?

The 1932-D Washington quarter is considered the key date in the series, and estimates of the coin’s survival rate vary. PCGS Coinfacts estimates that there are only 44,000 examples. This is based on a mathematical model and not a hands-on survey of actual pieces. We estimate that most surviving examples would fall in the Fine-12 or below grade range and that the number of surviving Mint State examples is likely well below PCGS’ published rate of 650 at MS65 or better. Only 134 certified examples exist in MS65 and above, with 109 graded by PCGS and 25 graded by NGC. Additionally, the highest certified grade given by either firm is MS66, with only two certified examples, both of which were graded by PCGS.

In low grades (between Poor and Good), examples sell for between $50 and $70.

Slightly higher-graded examples (VF) sell for between $100 and $200 and can be found regularly online or in auctions.

While pieces certified as About Uncertified are worth between $300 to $800, the value starts to climb for Mint State examples. Even in low Mint State (MS61 – MS62), examples sell for $1,000 to $1,200. In mid-Mint State (MS63 – 64), examples sell for $1,500 to $3,000, and in higher grades the price skyrockets. In MS65, auction prices range from $7,000 to $15,000, and MS65+ examples can sell for $15,000 to $25,000. Most of the MS65+ coins we have tracked at public auctions were upgrades.

The auction record for this type, an example graded MS66, sold for $143,750 in the April 2008 Bowers and Merena sale. However, Heritage Auctions sold this same coin for $74,400 in their January 2018 sale. The only other example graded MS66 by PCGS was sold by Heritage for $82,250 in 2015 and again by David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC) for $64,500 in 2020.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top PopulationPCGS MS66 (2, 4/2024), NGC MS65 (25, 4/2024), and  CACG MS65 (18:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

  • PCGS MS66 #4260522: Heritage Auctions, August 9, 2001, Lot 6044 – $89,125; “The Marquette-Yakima Registry Set of Washington Quarters,” Bowers and Merena, April 2008, Lot 322 – $143,750; “The Burgess Lee Berlin, M.D., J.D. Collection of Important United States Rarities,” Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4837 – $74,400; Rim toning on the obverse. Top pop, pop one when offered.
  • PCGS MS66 #25696037: As PCGS MS65+ CAC #25318850: Stack’s Bowers, February 2015, Lot 1600 – $41,125; As PCGS MS66 #25696037. Heritage Auctions, June 4, 2015, Lot 3936 – $82,250; David Lawrence Rare Coins, 2020, Lot 640532 – $64,500. Brilliant. IN GOD WE TRUST is weak. Upgraded one-half point.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #44108038: GreatCollections, April 2, 2023, Lot 1342346 – View.
  • PCGS MS65+ #40811919: As PCGS MS65 #39398250. Heritage Auctions, October 14, 2020, Lot 18159 – $9,000. As PCGS MS65+ #40811909. Heritage Auctions, April 24, 2021, Lot 5031 – $16,200. Upgraded one-half point. Dull brown toning. Dark spot to the left of Washington’s nose. Hit on jaw. Dark spot to the left of T of TRUST.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #38559948: As PCGS MS65 #60055473. Heritage Auctions, January 2003, Lot 6974 – $16,800; Heritage Auctions, March 2006, Lot 680 – $17,250. As PCFS MS65+ CAC #38559948. “The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part VII,” Stack’s Bowers, March 20, 2020, Lot 7182 – $19,200. Upgraded one-half point. Lustrous with gold and rust toning. Small turquoise area near 2 of date.
  • PCGS MS65+ CAC #25662218: As PCGS MS65 #31905054. Stack’s Bowers, July 2015, Lot 4341 – $25,850. As PCGS MS65+ CAC #25662218.Heritage Auctions, December 3, 2015, Lot 3163 – $21,737.50. Upgraded one-half point. Rust and green toning at the top of Washington’s head and LIBERTY.



Designed by John Flanagan, the obverse of the 1932-S Washington quarter is based on a bust of the general created by the neoclassical French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon in 1785. However, Flanagan’s design differs from the original bust in several ways, such as a slightly different head shape and several curls of hair that are not on the bust; for comparison, the bust can be viewed at the late president’s Virginia estate, Mount Vernon. Under the left-facing bust’s chin is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The legend LIBERTY runs along the top of the coin’s field and the date 1932 below. In small letters, Flanagan’s initials JF can be found above the “2” in 1932 at the base of the bust.


Unlike the obverse, there were no restrictions placed on the candidate sculptors when designing the Washington quarter reverse. Flanagan’s reverse is dominated by a heraldic eagle with outstretched wings and a left-facing head. The eagle is perched on a neat bundle of arrows with two intertwined olive branches below and the “D” mintmark centered between the two olive branch stems. Above the eagle can be read the two main inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM. Finally, at six o’clock on the design is the denomination written out as QUARTER DOLLAR.


The edge of the 1932-D Washington quarter is reeded.


Born in New Jersey in 1865, John Flanagan lived in New York for most of his life. He began working with Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1884 at the age of 20 and quickly became a well-known sculptor and medallic artist in his own right. Saint-Gaudens made introductions for Flanagan at the United States Mint. While the Washington quarter was his sole numismatic design, Flanagan designed numerous famous medals and sculptures, including the official medal of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the official Verdun medal gifted to France by the United States Government, and the 1924 bust of Saint-Gaudens. Flanagan was also a member of the American Numismatic Society (ANS).

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1932
Denomination: Quarter Dollar (25 Cents USD)
Mint Mark: D (Denver)
Mintage: 436,800
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 6.30 g
Diameter: 24.30 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: John Flanagan
REV Designer: John Flanagan
Quality: Business Strike


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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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  1. The 1932 D quarter from my experience is mostly encountered in low grades. Any original looking piece is very fine condition or better is a keeper. Remember early on as a kid a relative who had a set of three of this date in his jewelry box. I remember that all of them glittered with mint luster and that’s what started me on collecting coins.

  2. Were the people of 1932 able to purchase the commemorative for 25 cents? D and S are mentioned, was it the same distribution method in Philadelphia? Was it decided to mint more to enter circulation or did they just release the unsold coins?

    • Having this coin replace the Standing Liberty Quarter was a gross offense. One that changed the course of US coin design.


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