The year is 1974. Bruce Blackburn, a graphic designer in New York, is approached to create a symbol for the American Revolution's Bicentennial celebration after designing the iconic NASA "worm" logo.
The result synthesized modernity and patriotism — a gentle star in hues of red, white, and blue. It was an immediate hit and was quickly emblazoned across an array of items from stamps to coffee mugs, graced the facade of government buildings and banners, and eventually made its way to the Bicentennial Quarter.
What Is a Bicentennial Quarter?
This commemorative coin holds a special place in numismatic history. In recognition of the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution, the United States Mint released a unique quarter in 1976. Unlike the regular quarters in circulation, the Bicentennial Quarter features a distinct design that showcases the iconic image of a colonial drummer boy on the reverse side.
The Bicentennial Quarter holds both sentimental and collector value. Its design represents a significant milestone in American history and serves as a reminder of the country's rich heritage and the struggles endured during its journey to independence. As a collector's item, the Bicentennial Quarter often holds a higher value than its face value due to its limited mintage and historical significance.
Bicentennial Quarter Value and Prices
With its striking design and historical significance, the Bicentennial Quarter holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and history enthusiasts alike. While its face value remains at a modest 25 cents, the value of a Bicentennial Quarter can go far beyond that, depending on its condition and rarity.
In Mint State — meaning a pristine, uncirculated condition — most Bicentennial quarters are valued at a minimum of $5. These well-preserved specimens, with their crisp details and lustrous finish, command the attention of collectors seeking to add a piece of history to their collections.
On the other hand, if you come across a Bicentennial Quarter in circulated condition, its value typically remains at its face value of 25 cents. While it may not carry a significant premium in this state, it still serves as a tangible reminder of the Bicentennial celebration and the spirit of patriotism it represents.
To give you an idea of the Bicentennial Quarter’s value in different mint marks, compositions, and finishes, here are some aggregated price estimates you can expect for several minted variations:
● Philadelphia (none): Cupronickel clad, Uncirculated, Mintage: 809,784,016, Price: $6
● Denver (D): Cupronickel clad, Uncirculated, Mintage: 860,118,839, Price: $6
● San Francisco (S): Cupronickel clad, Proof, Mintage: 7,059,099, Price: $4
● San Francisco (S): 40% Silver, Uncirculated, Mintage: 11,000,000, Price: $7.50
● San Francisco (S): 40% Silver, Proof, Mintage: 4,000,000 (included above), Price: $9
Please note that these values represent coin grading at MS65 or PR65. Coins in higher grades will fetch a premium above the listed values, reflecting their exceptional condition and desirability among collectors.
So, whether you stumble upon a Bicentennial Quarter in your pocket change or consider adding it to your collection, remember that its value extends far beyond its face value. It represents a tangible piece of American history and the enduring spirit of patriotism that continues to resonate with collectors and enthusiasts to this day.
Which Bicentennial Quarters Are Worth the Money?
More than 1.6 billion business strikes were produced in Philadelphia and Denver over the course of two years. While most circulating Bicentennial quarters are worth their face value of 25 cents, there are certain factors to consider when seeking out those that hold extra value.
Bicentennial quarters hold varying values depending on their condition.
When collecting Bicentennial quarters, look for coins free of marks and scratches, and aim for fully struck specimens. Obverse scratches are typical, especially on Washington's cheekbone, while the drum details on the reverse may not always be fully defined. Finding coins that meet both criteria can command a premium.
Q. David Bowers, a respected numismatic authority, suggests collecting mid-grade coins, particularly those graded at MS-65. However, the current market conditions present a different perspective. Based on PCGS and NGC population reports, MS-65-graded quarters account for less than 25% of the total graded between MS-63 and MS-67.
Holding onto an MS-65 graded quarter may put you at a disadvantage, as there are nearly twice as many MS-66 coins available and a comparable number of MS-67 coins. That means that the potential for future price performance might be limited. Consider the rarity and demand for higher-grade specimens when shaping your collection strategy.
The decision on which Bicentennial quarters to collect ultimately rests with the individual collector. If you prioritize the best quality specimens, prepare to scrutinize hundreds of coins or invest in ready-made coins at a higher cost. Seek fully struck examples with well-defined drums for the best chance at a coin that will appreciate its numismatic value.
What Is the Error on the 1776 to 1976 Bicentennial Quarter?
Errors found on the 1776-1976 dual-dated coins minted to commemorate America's Bicentennial are highly sought after by collectors. In a recent auction by Stack's Bowers Galleries, a 1976-D Washington quarter dollar with an obverse die cap error, graded Mint State 67 by NGC, sold for $2,880. The coin, measuring nearly 4 millimeters in height and well-centered, exhibited a unique characteristic: The planchet was fed into the press before another struck coin was ejected, resulting in a sharp obverse impression and a softened brockage impression on the reverse.
In the same auction, a 1976-D Kennedy half-dollar obverse die-cap error, also graded MS-67 by NGC, fetched $3,600. This coin displayed a blockage from the obverse of a previously struck Kennedy half dollar on its reverse, showcasing a broad and distended impression with clear features, including a full portrait, part of the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST," and a well-defined D mintmark.
The errors on 1776 to 1976 dual-dated coins struck for the Bicentennial celebration remain highly sought-after by collectors, exemplified by recent auctions showcasing their unique appeal.
Collecting Bicentennial Quarters
Whether you come across a Bicentennial Quarter in your pocket change or stumble upon a well-preserved specimen, it is a unique piece of American coinage with historical and collectible allure.
Both investors and numismatic enthusiasts remain equally captivated by this special coin. Its unique features are tangible reminders of America's rich history and the monumental bicentennial celebration.
As with other commemorative coins, such as the 1987 $5 U.S. Constitution Bicentennial MS70, they possess real historical significance and are highly esteemed by collectors. Whether you appreciate their historical value, unique design, or potential as an investment, Bicentennial Quarters stand as a testament to the progress and advancement of the United States, appealing to both the history-minded collector and the investor seeking investment-grade coins.
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