HomeUS Coins1935-S Washington Quarter : A Collector's Guide

1935-S Washington Quarter : A Collector’s Guide

1935-S Washington Quarter. Image: Heritage Auctions / Adobe Stock.
1935-S Washington Quarter. Image: Heritage Auctions / Adobe Stock.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
1935 marked the third year of production for the Washington quarter. The coin design was introduced in 1932 to honor the 200th anniversary of President and General George Washington’s birthday. President Calvin Coolidge signed the authorizing legislation in 1924, eight years before the planned commemoration was to take place and just eight years into the production of Hermon MacNeil’s Liberty Standing quarter design.

The intent of the legislation was to ensure the country hosted adequate celebrations in 1932, the deceased president’s bicentennial year.

While the Washington quarter was originally meant to be a commemorative half dollar, the Great Depression forced the commission to shelve the idea. Since the Standing Liberty quarter was difficult to strike and the dies wore out too quickly, there was little Mint pushback when Representative Randolph Perkins (R-NJ7) introduced a bill to change the Washington commemorative denomination from half to quarter dollar. This decision, however, came after the Bicentennial Commission had already held a design competition and selected a design submitted by the well-known sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser.

The 1935-S Quarter Up Close

In 1935, the United States Mint struck quarters at all three mints: the Philadelphia Mint struck 35,484,000 coins; the San Francisco Mint struck 5,660,000; and the Denver Mint struck 5,780,000, for a grand total of 46,924,000 coins.

In these early years of production, the Mint adjusted the obverse design slightly. Since Flanagan engraved the obverse motto IN GOD WE TRUST “too softly” on his models, the hubs needed to be adjusted if the lettering were not to wear off the dies too quickly. Experimenting with the font weight of the motto, the Mint eventually settled on the heavy style seen on Washington quarters struck in 1936 and later. However, when striking the 1935-S, mint workers employed dies cut from the second transitional type of 1935 hub. While the lettering on these coins was still slim, the motto was “much sharper.”

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

When this article was written, the spot price of silver was $25.08 per ounce – which means that the 1935-S quarter currently has a melt value of $4.53. This bullion value is less than the numismatic value of even the coin’s lowest grades. Recent eBay sales show that the typical Good example sells for about $8-$10, while coins graded Very Fine to Extra Fine can bring between $20 and $30. Prices jump for the 1935-S Washington quarter in Mint State, with uncertified examples selling for $80 or more.

For roughly the same price, collectors can secure a certified example in the grade of MS63.

Some price guides published online suggest that MS65 examples can bring as much as $200, while recent sales show that most quarters at this grade bring between $130 and $150. In the highest certified grades, the 1935-S is cheaper than the 1935-D. More 1935-S quarters were saved at high grade, reflecting that several recent sales of MS67+ quarters certified by PCGS and NGC have been reported in the $1,500 to $2,000 range. During the same period, 1935-D quarters in the same grade have traded hands for $4,000 and up.

Top PopulationPCGS MS67+ (19, 4/2024), NGC MS68 (1, 4/2024), and CAC MS67 (33:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

Through January 2011, PCGS had graded 20 coins in MS67 with none finer. Through April 2024, the PCGS MS67 population now stands at 82, with 19 coins in MS67+. The PCGS MS67+ coins started to appear in the summer of 2016. Some, but not most, MS67+ coins are crossovers or upgrades.

  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #25014443: Stack’s Bowers, November 16, 2023, Lot 6126 – $2,400. Dark toning around the periphery.
  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #47368773: GreatCollections, October 1, 2023, Lot 1442051 – View. Majestic rainbow toning. PQ.
  • PCGS MS67+ #34358638: Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4519 – $3,480; “Charlie O’s Collection,” Heritage Auctions, June 7, 2019, Lot 3712 – $3,000; Heritage Auctions, May 8, 2022, Lot 7229 – $1,680. Mostly brilliant with speckles of black across the neck. Light isolated toning on the mouth and right and left obverse periphery.
  • NGC MS67+ #4485170-001: Stack’s Bowers, August 13, 2019, Lot 1292 – $1,310; GreatCollections, August 15, 2021, Lot 1017923 – View;  Heritage Auctions, January 25, 2022, Lot 27190 – $1,170. Scattered brown toning.
  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #10285707: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, January 27, 2022, Lot 120 – $2,173.50.
  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #25634591: “The Washington Rainbows Collection, #1 PCGS Registry Set of Silver Washington Quarters, 1932-1964,” Stack’s Bowers, March 25, 2021, Lot 2281 – $2,640; GreatCollections, August 22, 2021, Lot 1035180 – View; GreatCollections, October 16, 2022, Lot 1233002 – View. Speckled with butterscotch toning on the obverse.
  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #39824619: “The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part VII,” Stack’s Bowers, March 20, 2020, Lot 7191; Stack’s Bowers, November 12, 2020, Lot 5173 – $1,800.
  • NGC MS67+ CAC #4913392-005: Heritage Auctions, October 18, 2020, Lot 7283 – $1,500. Frosty with scattered brown and rust toning along the periphery.
  • NGC MS67+ #5743937-002: Heritage Auctions, August 9, 2020, Lot 7212 – $1,110; GreatCollections, January 17, 2021, Lot 919344 – View.
  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #38559957: “The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part VII,” Stack’s Bowers, March 20, 2020, Lot 7190 – $1,920. Gold, green, and red toning around the upper periphery (obverse) and lower and left periphery (reverse). Toning in left obverse field.
  • PCGS MS67+ #38684547: As NGC MS67+ #3582324-002. GreatCollections, January 27, 2019, Lot 667045 – View. As PCGS MS67+ #38684547. GreatCollections, March 1, 2020, Lot 674187 – View. Crossed over to PCGS. Gold, green, purple, and magenta toning on the obverse and reverse.
  • PCGS MS67+ #36068249: Stack’s Bowers, March 1, 2019, Lot 7206 – $1,680; GreatCollections, March 28, 2021, Lot 964754 – View. Scattered brown toning. Brown spots at bust truncation over 5.
  • PCGS MS67+ CAC #25788976: As PCGS MS67 #50066394. Heritage Auctions, June 3, 2014, Lot 6072 – $4,312.50; Heritage Auctions, June 4, 2015, Lot 3709 – $2,232.50. Reholded with Michael Fuller Collection added. CAC added. As PCGS MS67+ CAC #25788976. Heritage Auctions, August 10, 2016, Lot 3885 – $3,290. Upgraded one-half point. One of two in MS67+ when offered; “The jwb1040 Collection,” Heritage Auctions, February 22, 2018, Lot 3608 – $1,680. Curvilinear toning mark at the bottom right field of the obverse. Scattered toning on the eagle.

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Designed by John Flanagan, the obverse of the 1935-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 estate, Mount Vernon. Under the left-facing bust’s chin is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST, the 1935-D using the transitional medium weight motto. The legend LIBERTY runs along the top of the coin’s field and the date 1935 below. In small letters, Flanagan’s initials “JF” can be found above the “5” in 1935 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 S mint mark 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 1935-S Washington quarter is reeded, as is the edge of all Washington quarters.


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 U.S. 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: 1935
Denomination: Quarter Dollar (25 Cents USD)
Mint Mark: S (San Francisco)
Mintage: 5,660,000
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 6.25 g
Diameter: 24.30 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: John Flanagan
REV Designer: John Flanagan
Quality: Business Strike



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. Do an article on the Washington type B reverse, proof dies were used on many in the 1950. Explain the gap in states, between the E and S.


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