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HomeUS Coins1997-D Washington Quarter : A Collector's Guide

1997-D Washington Quarter : A Collector’s Guide

1997-D Washington quarter. Image: CoinWeek / Adobe Stock.
1997-D Washington quarter. Image: CoinWeek / Adobe Stock.

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

By 1997, events were already in motion to completely overhaul the Washington quarter series. By December 1, 1997, President Bill Clinton had signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act, making 1997 the penultimate year of the Heraldic Eagle Washington quarter. This came after a very important couple of years at the Denver Mint. Not only had the mint become profitable enough to manage and begin operating on its own operating revenues, but it had also started a massive five-year, $100 million plan to modernize its equipment. With these funds, the Denver facility purchased three annealing furnaces and a high-speed press capable of producing 700 planchets per minute.

Denver was even recognized for its staff’s “high caliber” (Mint Annual Report, 7). Under the leadership of new superintendent Raymond J. DeBroekert, Denver was the first mint field office to win a Hammer Award. Vice President Al Gore gave the award to “teams of federal employees who have made significant contributions in support of reinventing government principles” (US GOV). In 1997, Denver was also awarded the first Mint Director’s Equal Employment Opportunity trophy.

When the award-winning staff and new machinery were combined, there was a dramatic increase in the quality and rate of production at the Denver facility.

That being said, Denver only struck 599,680,000 Washington quarters in 1997. This was a 45.64% decline from 1995 and a 33.9% decline from 1996. However, even with such a comparatively small mintage and an estimated survival rate of 50%, this date and type is quite common in all but the highest grades. Like many modern circulating coins, the graded population does not accurately reflect the available population. NGC has certified only 197 coins, and PCGS has graded just 334, with the two most common grades being MS 66 at 37.1% of the graded population and MS 67 at 36%. Despite only 20 certified and graded pieces at MS 68, there are undoubtedly many more of this quality yet to be submitted.

What Is the 1997-D Washington Quarter Worth?

At the time of publication, the auction record for this type is $1,708.88 (with Buyer’s Fee), set in a May 2019 GreatCollections sale for a PCGS MS68. The previous record, $977.50 USD–was set in a January 2004 Heritage Auctions sale. The coin is a “needle sharp” example with no contact marks, graded as MS 68 by PCGS. Curiously, it seems that the prices realized for PCGS MS68 coins offered at GreatCollections were multiples of what the same material brought at Heritage Auctions, as that same “needle sharp” coin was offered at Heritage in June 2019 and brought only $384! In 2023, GreatCollections also sold the first NGC MS68+ graded. CoinWeek expects PCGS coins to break into MS68+ at some point; this would hurt collector opinions about MS68 coins.

Each step down in grade also corresponds to a dramatic decrease in price. MS 67s have sold for as high as $100 and as low as $27. Most examples average out at roughly $40 to $60. MS 66s sell for between $5 and $30, with most averaging around $14. The lower range of this price also holds for MS 65s, which sell for between $5 and $20.

Low Mint State examples (MS 60 – MS 62) sell for $2 to $5 and are not worth submitting for grading. Correspondingly, AU examples are worth a 2-3x premium over face value. In grades lower than AU, the 1997-D is worth face value.

Top Population: PCGS MS68 (15, 3/2024), NGC MS68+ (1, 3/2024), and CAC None Graded (0:0 stickered:graded, 3/2024).

  • NGC MS68+ #5859087-004: GreatCollections, July 2, 2023, Lot 893297 – $1,462.50. Top pop, pop 1 at the time of sale.
  • PCGS MS68 #21030600: GreatCollections, September 20, 2020, Lot 840133 – View.
  • PCGS MS68 #08969740: “The Michael Fuller Collection,” Heritage Auctions, November 30, 2007, Lot 60921 – $862.50; Heritage Auctions, June 18, 2019, Lot 25562 – $384. Michael Fuller Collection on insert. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS68 #35697053: GreatCollections, June 17, 2018, Lot 592189 – View; GreatCollections, May 19, 2019, Lot 696780 – $1,708.88.
  • PCGS MS68 #60199751: Heritage Auctions, February 16, 2007, Lot 3898 – $862.50; GreatCollections, August 15, 2021, Lot 1027727 – View.
  • PCGS MS68: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2004, Lot 6507 – $977.50. Described as “needle sharp”.

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Design

Obverse:

Designed by American sculptor John Flanagan, the obverse of the 1983-P Washington quarter is based on a bust of the Founding Father George Washington created by the neoclassical French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon in 1785. 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, Houdon’s bust can be viewed at the late president’s Virginia estate, Mount Vernon. Under the left-facing effigy’s chin is the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The legend LIBERTY runs along the top of the coin’s field, and the date 1997 is below. In small letters, Flanagan’s initials “JF” can be found above the “7” in 1997 at the base of the bust, and the “P” mint mark is to the right of Washington’s hair tie.

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. The two main inscriptions above the eagle can be read: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM. Finally, at six o’clock on the design, the denomination is written out as QUARTER DOLLAR.

Edge:

The edge of the 1997-D Washington quarter is reeded.

Designer

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: 1997
Denomination: Quarter Dollar (25 Cents USD)
Mint Mark: D (Denver)
Mintage: 599,680,000
Alloy: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel over a pure copper center
Weight: 5.67 g
Diameter: 24.30 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: John Flanagan
REV Designer: John Flanagan
Quality: Business Strike

 

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Sources

1997 US Mint Annual Report – https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/611379

US GOV – https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/npr/library/awards/hammer/whatis.html

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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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5 COMMENTS

  1. As the article explains, unless it’s uncirculated or proof (S mint mark) the coin is only worth face value.

  2. I will be selling coins, is it safe to sell thru e-bay and can’t they cheat you? Do I list my price and then send by registered mail or do I send them and they place a price on the coins? What % must I pay e-bay? Are there better, safer places to list? Thank you.

    • It’s fairly safe to sell on eBay. In order to get your items seen by more viewers, you must pay a fee to promote your listings, which runs you about $4 per item that you list. Not including the percentage that eBay charges once your item sells which I believe is about 20% of the total amount you receive. You get to price your own items along with options to auction them off and place a “but it now for ($$)” price on it. One good thing I would say about eBay is that they require the buyer to purchase an item before the seller ships it off. Therefore, you’re paid immediately which reflects inside of your eBay account, then notified that you must print the shipping label and ship the item. Or, you could have eBay ship your items for you by sending your item to one of eBay’s shipping parcels. Whatever percentage eBay charges you after your item sells is automatically deducted from those funds. hey have many many options as far as shipping goes, which you could either pay the cost for the buyer, make the buyer pay the cost for shipping, or charge the buyer a specific amount, for instance, half price of what eBay has already configured.
      Other options to sell your coins to look into would be Heritage Auctions and PCGs. Otherwise, you could create your own website, set up a payment feature for buyers such as Payoneer or Stripe which will include options that would allow buyers to pay with a debit or credit card, or include your own method such as CashApp and/or PayPal by including your Cash Tag and/or your PayPal pay link on your website, and advertise your coins there, cutting out the middle man and the fees that goes along with them, keeping 100% of your profits. You can choose to charge the buyer your own configured shipping cost, or advertise ‘Free Shipping anf Handling’ and pay the cost yourself. There are many more options to choose from when selling your coins, which I would recommend doing research on by utilizing the internet. I wouldn’t recommend, however, selling your coins to a local coin dealer, unless you know the history on them. Local coin dealers tends to rip you off, offering significantly low amounts, knowing that they would make about 300% more than what they’d paid you for your coins. Therefore, unless you know for sure that they’re fair in dealing, relatively close to market values, I would steer away from that option.

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