1966 Washington Quarter: Reduced Mintage Makes Higher Grades Scarce

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Washington Quarter Overview

A well known and necessary coin for use in everyday commerce, the Washington Quarter was first minted in 1932 and replaced the standing liberty quarter. Designed to commemorate the 200th birthday of President George Washington, the Washington Quarter became an instant hit with consumers.

Sculptor John Flanagan was responsible for designing the Washington Quarter, which featured common patriotic designs. The obverse of the coin features a bust of George Washington facing left with the word “LIBERTY” centered directly above, and the date of minting centered below. The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” can be found in the left field of the coin, directly below Washington’s chin.

The reverse of the coin has a patriotic design of an eagle with outstretched wings, and arrows and a wreath in its claws. Both the phrases of “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” can be found above Flanagan's eagle. The denomination “QUARTER DOLLAR” can be found centered below.

Washington quarters were made with a 90% silver-based composition between the years 1932 and 1964. Silver was removed in 1965, resulting in a change in composition to a copper core and nickel coating.

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.

About the 1966 Washington Quarter

In 1965, a huge number of Washington Quarters were minted due to the lower cost and increased demand. This changed in 1966 when the mint cut back on the amount produced, minting 821,101,000 examples, about 1 million less than in 1965.

This change in mintage was to help even out the amount of Washington Quarters in circulation at the time.

Since the 1966 Washington Quarter was minted after 1964, there is no silver in the coin, but rather a copper-nickel clad composition. This makes the coin weigh 5.67 grams and have a diameter of 24.3mm. Reeding, or bumps, can be found on the edges of the coin.

1966 Washington Quarter

Image Source Flickr user Alan Jakub

Grading the 1966 Washington Quarter

Like all other collectible coins, condition plays a big factor in determining the value of Washington Quarters.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when trying to grade any Washington Quarter.

  • Good 4: A coin that is very worn with main mottos and designs distinguishable. Rims are worn flat and some may be incomplete.

  • Fine 12: Moderate uniform wear that gives way to some details. Rims are intact but worn. Washington’s hair has some detail. Eagles feathers can be seen.

  • Extra Fine 40: Slight wear on all parts of the coin, but many smaller details can be seen. All major details are sharp and some original mint luster can be seen.

  • MS-60: A coin that has not been circulated and looks to have come directly from the mint. All details are sharp and no wear is present anywhere on the coin. Full mint luster is present with some small breaks or contact marks.

  • MS-65: Has slightly sharper details than MS-60 as well as more luster. One, maybe two, small contacts marks in non-distracting areas on the coin.

Most Washington Quarters before 1970 will be found in Extra Fine or lower condition. Any 1966 Washington Quarter in MS-60 or higher should be kept since examples in this condition are becoming increasingly scarce.

Valuing the 1966 Washington Quarter

Although minted in a much smaller quantity than the previous year, the 1966 Washington Quarter is fairly common and can still be found in circulation today. Most examples found will be in Extra Fine or lower condition, with MS-60 and higher coins being very scarce.

Those in Extra Fine quality or lower will only be worth face value, while those in MS-60 are valued at about $1.

Any 1966 Washington Quarter in a higher grade such as MS-65, will be worth about $10. If you are lucky enough to own an example that grades MS-66, the value increases to $25.

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