Washington Quarter Overview
The Washington Quarter’s design payed tribute to one of the greatest presidents in US history, George Washington. The first US President is possibly the most well-known and liked presidents of all time.
To commemorate the great deeds that Washington did for the country as a Founding Father, Revolutionary War General, and US President, the United States Mint accepted designs for a coin that featured Washington.
John Flanagan, a sculptor and artist, created a design that featured a bust of Washington on the obverse and a Bald Eagle on the reverse. This design was quickly accepted by the Mint and put into production in 1932.
Flanagan's main design was in production until 1999, where his obverse design was updated and the reverse changed to commemorate a particular state.
Washington Quarters feature a bust of George Washington centered, facing left on the obverse. Under Washington’s chin is the motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Above the bust is the word “LIBERTY” and below is the date of mintage.
The reverse design has a bald eagle with wings outstretched and arrows in its talons. An olive branch can also be found below the eagle's talons and wings. The mottos, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, are above the eagle, while the denomination, “QUARTER DOLLAR”, is below.
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 1958 Washington Quarter
Interestingly enough, there was a small recession that occurred during the end of 1957 which lowered the demand for more coinage significantly. The Mint responded by minting much fewer coins in 1958. So few Washington Quarters were minted at Philadelphia in 1958 that it is the second-lowest mintage number for the Philadelphia Mint in the entire series.
It is reported that only 6,360,000 examples were struck during the entire year. That year, many collectors turned to hoarding what 1958 Washington Quarters they could find, expecting the prices to rise in the future.
Washington Quarters minted from 1932 till 1964 were all made up of a 90% silver and 10% copper composition. This resulted in a diameter of 24.3 mm and a weight of 6.25 grams. The edges of all Washington Quarters are reeded.
Qualities of an Exceptionally Struck Washington Quarter
Not all coins are created and struck equally, so coins with a much stronger strike that has better eye appeal are worth much more. But, determining what an exceptionally struck Washington Quarter looks like can be difficult.
The first thing that needs to be cleared up is that generally only Uncirculated Washington Quarters are worth more with a better strike. Coins below uncirculated condition will not be given a premium for their strike.
An average strike Washington Quarter will have a pleasing design, but some of the details, mainly at the eagle's feathers and Washington’s hair, may be light or unclear.
So, the first place to look for a strong strike is the eagle’s wings. If the feathers are clear and separated, the strike is seen as above average. If the bald eagle’s breast feathers are separate and visible, the strike may be exceptional.
The final place to check is Washington’s hair. The more details that are visible in the curls of Washington’s hair, the better the strike. Even the legends on the reverse should be clean and sharp with no lightness.
If your Washington Quarter shows both of these strong strike indicators, your coin may be exceptionally struck. Remember, coins that were struck better than average are very hard to find and most examples that are in the market are only average struck.
Valuing the 1958 Washington Quarter
Like most silver Washington Quarters, the 1958 Washington Quarter is only worth silver value in grades under Uncirculated condition. At the time of this writing, the silver value for the 1958 Washington Silver Quarter is $4.30.
For examples in Uncirculated condition, the numismatic price outweighs the silver price. MS-60 condition has a retail price of $8.75 and MS-63 condition is valued at $9.75. A jump to $26 can be seen if a coin achieves MS-65 condition.
Since many coins were saved in 1958, lots of premium-grade coins still exist. Even MS-67 examples are only valued at $125, which shows that there are many coins that have achieved that grade.
Having low mintage numbers normally help a coin’s price, as the laws of supply and demand cause the price to rise quickly. Since so many 1958 Washington Quarters were put away, the supply for high-grade examples is overwhelming. This has forced the prices of the high-grade 1958 Washington Quarters to stay much lower than similar dates.