1943 Washington Quarter: Doubled Die Varieties Command Huge Prices
Washington Quarter Overview
The first United States coin to feature Founding Father, Revolutionary War General, and the first United States President, George Washington, was the Quarter Dollar. The design was meant to commemorate Washington’s 200th birthday during the year 1932.
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John Flanagan’s design featured George Washington on the obverse and a bald eagle reverse. Both the obverse and reverse were meant as a tribute to both Washington and America. It was this design that would become the face of America's modern Quarter Dollar.
The obverse of the Washington Quarter features a bust of President George Washington centered and facing left. Above the bust is the word “LIBERTY” and below the bust is the date of mintage. Under Washington’s chin is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
On the reverse is a bald eagle with outstretched wings holding a bundle of arrows in its talons and an olive branch below. The denomination, “QUARTER DOLLAR”, is found below the main reverse design. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found grouped together along the top rim.
If you would like to learn more about collecting all types of quarters, including the Washington Quarter, please read our Ultimate Guide To Rare Quarters.
History of the 1943 Washington Quarter
During 1943, there was a much larger amount of Washington Quarters minted compared to other years. The biggest reason for this increase was to help supply the hard currency that was demanded during the second world war.
The US Mint at Philadelphia reports striking 99,700,000 examples of Washington Quarters dated 1943. Almost 20 years would pass before the Washington Quarter series would see the amount minted in the years from 1943-1944.
Probably the most interesting fact of the 1943 Washington Quarter is that there were some examples that show doubling of legends on the obverse. It is assumed that very few of these coins were actually minted and survive today.
1943 Doubled Die Obverse Washington Quarter
The years 1942 and 1943 had some Washington Quarters that exhibited a form of doubling on the obverse. These Doubled Die coins have increased in price recently and are extremely rare and valuable.
A doubled die error occurs when the image from the master hub is incorrectly transferred to the working die. Many times, this results in the image appearing to double in some areas, mainly the legends.
Specifically, the 1943 Doubled Die Washington Quarter exhibits very slight doubling compared to other doubled die varieties. Doubling can be found on the legends “LIBERTY” and “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
The doubling looks severe and sharp, with little to no clean doubling. “LIB” of “LIBERTY” is where the sharp doubling can be seen on the left side of each letter. A more uniform doubling can be seen on the entirety of “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
This particular form of doubling is very rare, with only 500 examples estimated to exist. A good amount of surviving examples are still in uncirculated condition and are worth a large amount of money.
Any 1943 Washington Quarter that is suspect to being a Doubled Die variety should be taken to a coin dealer for a second opinion or submitted to a third-party grader.
Valuing the 1943 Washington Quarter
The range of values for the 1943 Washington Quarter is very large and based on the grade of the coin.
Coins that are in and below Extremely Fine 40 condition are worth only silver value because of the massive amounts that were minted. Currently, the silver value for a silver Washington Quarter is $4.50.
Examples that are in Uncirculated Condition command a slightly higher premium. MS-60 examples see a retail price of $6 and MS-63 examples are valued at $9. Premium grade MS-65 1943 Washington Quarters are currently valued at $40.
Doubled Die varieties are worth significantly more than the regular strike versions. Grades of Very Fine 20 or lower range between $2000 and $200. MS-60 has an estimated value of $12,500. The highest graded example graded at MS-67 is estimated to be worth $40,000!