Which Quarters Are Silver?

Which Quarters Are Silver?
Posted on May 28, 2024 by BOLD Precious Metals
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Quarter dollars, also known as the United States quarters, have always been significant in the US coinage. The quarters the US Mint produces and circulates today are mainly made up of the cupronickel (copper + nickel) alloy.

However, if you want to invest in silver bullion you might ask: which quarters are silver? Are they silver coins from the past, or what is the secret for recognizing silver quarters correctly?

Quarter dollars minted until 1965 also had silver sandwiched inside them. Given the value of silver in the bullion market, this makes them ideal investment options. Moreover, if you have these coins in your collection, you may be sitting on some fortune!

Before making any moves, it is important to know which quarters are silver. Allow us to resolve this issue for you, along with helping you identify the silver quarter value. While identifying which quarters are silver is not as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack, it can be quite challenging for the uninformed.

Be not afraid, we are here to help!

Which Quarters are Silver?

If you are still confused about which quarters are silver and which to invest or collect, you can look for coins minted before 1965. You would be glad to know that these quarters contained 90% silver and their existing melt value is much higher than their melt value. Considered “junk silver,” these silver quarters can fetch you quite some melt value.

So, the simple answer to your question, “Which quarters are silver?” is the ones that were minted in or before 1964.

     Types of Silver Quarters with Silver Content

Let us now have a look at the silver quarters, the years in which they were minted, and the silver content in them:

Pre-1932 Quarters

The United States Mint was founded in 1792. Four years later, the Mint introduced the first silver quarter with a face value of 25 cents.

Here are the five kinds of pre-1932 quarters and their silver contents:

Draped Bust Coins (1796 – 1807)

The first American silver quarter, minted between 1796 and 1807, was engraved by Robert Scot. These quarters are known as the Draped Bust variety of silver quarters. Weighing 6.739g, these quarters contain 89.24% of fine silver.


Capped Bust Coins (1815 – 1838)

The Capped Bust coins followed the Draped Bust series. John Reich envisioned and Chief Engraver William Kneass adapted these silver quarters. These coins were minted with 89.2% fine silver.


Seated Liberty Coins (1838 – 1891)

1838 onward, the US Mint brought about a change in the silver quarters’ metal content. Thomas Sully and Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht designed the Seated Liberty coins. With 90% fine silver, the coins in 1838, 1853, and 1873 weighed 6.682g, 6.22g, 6.25g respectively.


Barber Coins (1892 – 1916)

The Seated Liberty silver quarters had quite a long run in the US, after which a redesign was needed. This is when the Barber coins came into existence. Retaining the 90% fine silver composition, these coins weighed 6.25 grams. Running for twenty-four long years, these coins get their name from their designer Charles Barber.


Standing Liberty Coins (1916 – 1930)

Marking the end of the pre-1932 coins are the Standing Liberty coins. Just like their predecessors, these coins weighed 6.25 grams and contained 90% fine silver. Consisting of an upright Goddess Liberty figure, the Standing Liberty coins were designed by a sculptor named Atkins MacNeil.


Washington Quarters (1932 – 1964)

The Washington silver quarters enjoyed the longest run in the US coinage. Designed by the sculptor John Flanagan, the coins feature a portrait of George Washington. Until 1965, the US Mint produced these coins every year with 90% fine silver composition.


Pre-1965 Quarters

As the silver prices rose during the Washington quarter’s run, the US Mint changed the metal composition of the coins. This is when President Lyndon Johnson approved using the copper-nickel alloy to mint the quarter dollars.


1976 Bicentennial Quarters

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America, the Government issued special bicentennial coins in 1975 and 1976. These coins were minted in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Fransisco. The Philadelphia and Denver coins were cupronickel coins. However, the San Fransisco Mint produced coins with 60% fine silver. The mint issued around 5 million of these silver quarters.


Silver Proof Quarters

Since 1992, the US Mint started producing silver-proof coins every year. They were both clad (made out of the copper-nickel alloy) and 90% fine silver. Moreover, the mintage of such coins is almost always less than one million, making them even more valuable for collectors.

     How to Identify Silver Quarter Value

How to Identify Silver Quarter Value

If you are planning to collect silver quarters or ensure that the coins you have are silver quarters, here are a few ways to confirm the same:

Look for the Date

Before anything else, check the date on the concerned quarter. If it is minted before 1965, it is most likely to contain over 80% fine silver.


Check the Mint Mark

Even if you find a coin dated 1965 or after, look for the mint mark on it. If it contains the “S” mintmark, it is likely to have a high silver percentage. This is because the San Fransisco Mint printed coins, especially for collection purposes.


Determine the Composition

If a quarter dollar carried a date older than 1965, it is likely to contain more than 80% silver in its composition. After 1965, silver coins (minted at the San Fransisco Mint) contained around 40% silver in their composition. Seek help from coin guides or trusted coin dealers to confirm this information.


Consider Collectability

If you want to collect the best silver quarters or get the best price for your coins, look for features that make the coins unique. Factors like mintage errors, historical significance, and low mintage figures make a coin more valuable than an ordinary silver quarter.

The Final Word

Silver is more valuable now than it ever was. The thought of people circulating quarters having around 90% pure silver itself is puzzling which raises a question of which quarters are silver when it comes to pure silver. Now that we know how valuable silver is, we can make the most of the silver quarters that carry significant value. While you expand your collection, ensure that authentic coin dealers assist you and refer to trusted guides to get the best deals.


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