What is the Value of a Bicentennial Quarter?

Early in the 1970s, preparations for what may have been the largest celebration in history got underway. The nation was swept up in a multi-year celebration of the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence’s signing. In addition to souvenirs and parades, the US Treasury produced the first circulating commemorative coin: the Bicentennial Quarter.

The History, Mintage, and Design of the Bicentennial Quarter

1976-S PCGS graded PR69 DCAM bicentennial quarters
1976-S PCGS graded PR69 DCAM bicentennial quarters
Image by Bill Wilkey

The bicentennial quarter value is significant because it commemorates an important milestone in American history. The quarter was minted in 1976 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence. It is a beautiful coin that contains many intricate details.

The obverse side of the coin features a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The reverse side depicts the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American freedom. The coin is 90% silver and 10% copper, with a diameter of 24.3mm and a weight of 5.7 grams.

The bicentennial quarter was minted at all four Mints: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D), San Francisco (S), and West Point (W). A total of 648 million were struck for circulation, including 40 million from San Francisco and 1.2 million from West Point. Circulation strikes were made from February 1975 through November 1976, with proofs minted from May to August 1976 in Philadelphia.

The initial retail price for the proof set was $10, which included two each of the Ike dollar, Kennedy half a dollar, Washington quarter, Eisenhower dime, Roosevelt dime, Jefferson nickel, and Lincoln cent. The Uncirculated Mint Sets sold for $5 each, including each coin struck at that particular mint.

The US Mint also produced special batches of quarters for collectors known as “Mint State 70” or “MS70”. These coins are graded on a point scale from 1-70, with 70 being a perfect coin. The MS70 grade is reserved for flawless coins under 5x magnification; this is the highest quality possible.

The bicentennial quarter is made of a clad composition, which means it has an inner core of copper and an outer layer of nickel. It is considered one of the most beautiful coins ever minted by the United States Mint. Many people enjoy collecting quarters, and the bicentennial quarter is a highly sought-after coin. It is also popular among those studying numismatics or money history.

The bicentennial quarter value makes it an excellent choice for collectors and investors. It is an affordable coin found in circulated condition for a few dollars, and however, quarters in pristine condition can be worth considerably more money. 

How Much Is the Bicentennial Quarter Worth?

There are a few things to consider when considering the bicentennial quarter value. 

First, the date on the coin is worth considering, and the earlier the coin, the more valuable it is. That being said, a bicentennial quarter from 1976 is worth more than a Quarter from 2017. 

The value of circulated coins is typically lower than that of their uncirculated equivalents. This means that if your bicentennial quarter has never been used, it will be worth more than one sitting in someone’s pocket. 

The coin’s condition is also important – a well-worn coin will be worth less than one that looks like it just came off the presses. 

Bicentennial Quarter Value and Prices

1776 – 1976 Bicentennial 3 Coins Set – Dollar, Half Dollar, And Quarter
Image by The Coin Enthusiast

Given the large number of quarter dollars each mint produces, a few varieties are more valuable than others. In some cases, prices can range from the coin’s face value and melt quality up to thousands of dollars.

In light of this, let’s examine some valuable bicentennial quarter varieties. All auction prices and bid amounts are based on coin grading services like PCGS and NGC.

Philadelphia Quarters

The 1976 bicentennial quarters produced by the Philadelphia Mint were made of a cupro nickel-clad composition. Additionally, there was a lot of interest in releasing the commemorative coins. Because of this, the quantity was valued above quality. 

Old quarters are worth their face value in circulated conditions. But many coins, including the quarter, a half dollar, and a dollar, were taken out of circulation while still fresh. Even today, preserved examples are still available and are worth something.

MS65 Regular Strike Washington Quarter

Preserved bicentennial quarters from 1976 are more frequently found in Mint State 65 condition. This grade of a coin is typically found on loose change. The value of these quarters exceeds their face value; auction prices range from $6 to $10.

MS66 / MS67 Regular Strike Washington Quarter

Most of the MS66 and MS67 Philadelphia bicentennial quarters were taken out of circulation soon after they were introduced. Coin values range from $15 to $40 for MS66, $35 $70, and up to $127 for MS67 conditions, even though they are not uncommon.

MS67+ / MS68 Regular Strike Washington Quarter

Bicentennial quarters struck in Philadelphia can be graded as high as MS67+. No coin in the Mint State 68 condition listed above has been discovered, probably because of their generally poorer condition. The only MS67+ has never been auctioned, but experts estimate its value to be $2850. Washington quarters with a higher grade could be worth more.

Denver Quarters

The Denver branch of the US Mint also used cupronickel to strike all of its quarters. On the obverse of every Denver quarter dollar, to the right of George Washington’s profile, is the mintmark “D.”

Additionally, slightly better conditions were used to strike the Denver Bicentennial quarters. As a result, examples in MS68 states are available.

MS68 Regular Strike Washington Quarter

The best-known grade for this variety is an MS68 Denver Washington bicentennial quarter. As a result, collectors may consider them to be valuable items. Their cost ranges from $3220 to $6463.

San Francisco Quarters

The San Francisco branch of the United States Mint was chosen to produce the proof bicentennial quarters to deter hoarders and satisfy collectors. In addition to quarters, the facility also made a dollar and half-dollar coins. Their facility has Washington quarters with an “S” mintmark that resembles Denver’s.

 The proof quarters weren’t meant for general use and had a polished, mirror-like appearance. There are three primary types:

Clad Proof Bicentennial Quarter

The dual date-clad proof quarter was produced in about 7 million pieces. Deep cameo pieces have recently been sold at auction for $7 to $50 in PR69 grade and $77 to $93 in PR70 grade.

Silver Proof Bicentennial Quarter (PR70 1976-S 25C Silver, DCAM (Proof))

The San Francisco Mint produced almost 4 million proof silver quarters, using 60% copper and 40% silver for their metal blanks. Deep cameo examples in PR69 range in price from $15 to $40, while uncirculated examples in PR70 can cost anywhere between $139 and $250.

Silver Uncirculated Bicentennial Quarter

The Bay Area also struck a quarter-dollar business despite Philadelphia and Denver producing standard quarters. These, however, were a silver quarter as opposed to the customary clad composition. There were almost 5 million printed. They are more expensive than others because of their higher metal content and lower mintage. An MS68 silver 1976 bicentennial quarter is worth between $23 and $144, and MS69 examples can cost anywhere between $5060 and $19200.

Valuable Varieties

The 1976 quarters can be distinguished from other quarters simply by their status as a commemorative issue. However, uncommon varieties with coin flaws can greatly increase the value of the bicentennial quarter.

Doubled Die Quarter

When a coin is struck with an improperly made coin die, the reverse and obverse inscriptions may be doubled. Collectors have found a few bicentennial quarters with doubled dies. The auction prices for these invaluable coins range from $810 to $3246. 

Overstruck Bicentennial Quarters

Every once in a while, a one-of-a-kind coin is struck. Overstruck coins are produced when a coin die presses a coin that has already been fully struck or a different planchet. For example, bicentennial quarters have been struck on various coins and planchets, including the dime. Due to their top uniqueness and individualized content, these quarters can add personality to a coin collection. These have great value. 

Struck Through Quarters

If something, like cloth, gets into the coin striking chambers, a different kind of coin error can occur. There are documented cases of Bicentennial quarters that were obstructed during production by a piece of cloth. The weaving pattern on the coin’s obverse distinguishes and increases its value. An MS66 example went for $881.25 at auction.

Final Thought

Whether you want to add to your collection or invest in a piece of American history, the bicentennial quarter should be on your radar! As you can see, the bicentennial quarter value can vary depending on several factors. However, a bicentennial quarter in good condition could be worth quite a bit of money.  

If you think you might have a valuable bicentennial quarter, it’s always a good idea to appraise it by a professional.

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