HomeUS Coins1963 Washington Quarter Proof : A Collector's Guide

1963 Washington Quarter Proof : A Collector’s Guide

1963 Washington Quarter Proof. Image: CoinWeek.
1963 Washington Quarter Proof. Image: CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..

An Era of American Coinage Draws to a Close

The Washington quarter was struck in .900 silver from 1932 through 1966. The 90% pure silver quarters struck in 1965 and 1966 are backdated to 1964 (the last “1964” quarter was struck in January 1966). The first copper-nickel-clad quarter was struck in August of 1965. Copper-nickel clad has been the circulating coin composition of the quarter dollar ever since.

The 1963 Washington quarter Proof was sold as part of the 1963 Proof Set. The 1963 Proof Set is noteworthy as it was the last of a 14-set run of sets to include the Franklin half dollar. In 1964, the United States Mint introduced the Kennedy half dollar, a coin struck to honor the slain president. The 1964 issue would be a one-year type, as the Mint eliminated silver from the dime and quarter in 1965-1966 and reduced silver content in the half dollar to 40%.

The 1963 set is a high-mintage set, with over three million produced. This number reflects how large the coin-collecting hobby had grown by the 1960s, as sales for the Mint’s annual set doubled from 1960 to 1961. Sales for Proof Sets would remain strong for the next three decades and would only see material declines in the back half of the 2000s.

The quality of the coins in the 1963 Proof Set is typically high, with a significant number (albeit a minority) of pieces displaying sufficient cameo frosting to earn the Cameo or Deep/Ultra Cameo designations by the two major grading services.

What’s the 1963 Washington Proof Quarter Worth?

Regardless of condition, a Proof 1963 Washington quarter is made of 90% silver and has an actual silver weight of 0.1808 ounces. This means that if silver is $25.08 (April 2, 2024 prices) an ounce, a Washington quarter struck before 1964 has a melt value of $4.53.

With so many high-quality surviving sets available, the numismatic premium over spot price is modest for 1963 Proof issues, except for pieces in ultra-high grade with very thick cameo frost. The current market price for an intact 1963 Proof Set is approximately $30. As a standalone item, an uncertified Proof quarter from the set has a value of approximately $10–40 times its face value, or double its melt value.

Coin certification by PCGS or NGC can add significant numismatic value to the coin, especially if the coin exhibits thick cameo frosting and has virtually flawless fields and devices. PCGS has certified four Brilliant 1964 Washington quarters as Proof 70, but to date, no Cameo or Deep Cameo has earned higher than Proof 69. A PCGS Proof 70 with great eye appeal will trade for over $1,000. The last example to sell at a public auction brought $1,680 when it sold at a Heritage auction in January 2021. PCGS has not certified an example in the 70 grade in over 15 years.

Brilliant examples in Proof 69 routinely trade for $40. In Cameo at the same grade, a 1963 Washington quarter in Proof sells between $60 to $80. In Deep Cameo, prices realized are disparate. Typically, the range is between $180 and $200, but some examples have brought $500 and up. These higher-priced examples are not exceptional, so we categorize these results as outliers. Of course, the dividing line between Cameo and Deep/Ultra Cameo can be arbitrary. A superior Cameo may very well exceed the eye appeal of a run-of-the-mill Deep Cameo, so caveat emptor.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Through April 2024, NGC reports 16,542 grading events of the 1963 Washington quarter in Proof. 15.34% of this total earned the Cameo designation, while a modest 5.9% earned Ultra Cameo. The typical grade for a submitted coin was in the Proof 67 to 68 range, with a sizable population in Proof 69. Assume that coins submitted for grading were handpicked for quality. On average, a fresh Proof set that was well cared for will yield a quarter in this grade range. Expect worse if the coin has been mishandled, the set’s packaging is brittle or damaged, or the coin was removed and put into a Capital holder.

Also, through April 2024, PCGS has graded 7,664 1963 Washington quarters in Proof. From that pool, PCGS has attributed its Deep Cameo designation to 4.43% of coins submitted, while 8.54% earned the company’s Cameo attribution. PCGS’ grade distribution mirrors that of NGC, with the notable exception that PCGS has certified four examples in the 70 grade to date. NGC has given no coins for this issue their ultimate grade.

Top Population: PCGS PR69DCAM (134, 4/2024), NGC PF69UC (167, 4/2024), and CAC PR67CAM (0:1 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

  • PCGS PR69DCAM #7758109: Stack’s Bowers, April 12, 2023, Lot 91556 – $100.
  • NGC PF69UCAM #1603422-008: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2023, Lot 23413 – $139.
  • NGC PF69UCAM #3540093-001: Heritage Auctions, October 18, 2022, Lot 25417 – $159.
  • PCGS PR69DCAM #2365979: Heritage Auctions, June 6, 2022, Lot 93211 – $720. Old Green Holder.
  • NGC PF69UCAM #1783368-008: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2021, Lot 25142 – $162.
  • PCGS PR69DCAM #1587824: Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2021, Lot 23476 – $204.
  • NGC PF69UCAM #4299562-008: Heritage Auctions, June 23, 2020, Lot 27147 – $384.

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Design

Obverse:

John Flanagan’s obverse design features a left-facing portrait of George Washington based on the Jean-Antoine Houdon bust of 1786. LIBERTY wraps around the top of the coin above Washington’s hair. The date “1972” wraps around the bottom, below Washington’s bust truncation. To the left of Washington is the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

United States 1963 Washington Quarter Silver Proof Coin

Reverse:

A heraldic eagle, rendered in Art Deco style, is perched atop a sheaf of arrows. The arrows and the eagle’s head are facing left. Two sprays of olive branches form a “U” shape, wrapping around the bottom of the eagle. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is wrapped around the top of the coin. Below that is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Wrapping around the bottom of the coin is the denomination QUARTER DOLLAR.

Edge:

Like all Washington quarters, the edge of the 1964 Proof Washington quarter is reeded.

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1963
Denomination: Quarter Dollar (25 Cents USD)
Mint Mark: N/A (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 3,075,645
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Weight: 6.25 g
Diameter: 24.30 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: John Flanagan
REV Designer: John Flanagan
Quality: Proof

 

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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 COMMENT

  1. Is there any coin place in Charlotte, NC you can refer me to THAT I CAN TRUST!! everyone acting like what I showed them ain’t worth nothing.

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