1932-D Washington Quarter

The story of the 1932-D Washington quarter closely mirrors that of the 1932-S.

Leading up to the 200th anniversary in 1932 of the birth of George Washington, the federal government held a public contest to choose a medal and (subject to congressional approval) a one-year half dollar design to honor Washington, the commander of the American army during the Revolutionary War and first President of the United States.(1)

Ultimately, Congress decided that a new Washington quarter should be issued to replace the Standing Liberty quarter, not a one-year commemorative half dollar, as previously proposed. The Act of March 4, 1931 made it official.

After Congress authorized the new quarter, the Treasury Department initiated another contest. More than 100 entries were submitted by October 27, 1931. The winner was John Flanagan, a former student of the famous sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

The new Washington quarter was officially released on August 1st, 1932, and has been with us ever since. In the long production history of this omnipresent coin, only two dates saw an annual output of less than one million pieces: the 1932-D and the 1932-S, with mintages of 436,800 and 408,000, respectively.(2)

Coin collecting was growing in popularity at the time of the Washington quarter debut, but most hobbyists were concentrating on cents, nickels, and dimes. Upon their release, few of the 1932-D or 1932-S quarters were saved.(3)

During the 1950s, collectors finally found a passion for Washington quarters, searching diligently through pocket change for needed dates, with the 1932-D and 1932-S at the top of their want lists. By 1960, there were virtually no examples of this duo left to be plucked from circulation.

Both coins are considered scarce, but not exceptionally rare. Washington quarters have been issued for nearly a century, yet only the 1932-D and 1932-S in the entire series come close to qualifying as key dates. They are also two of the lowest mintage and best known coins of the 20th century. These facts justify their inclusion in the Classic Rarities group.

The success of the 50 State Quarter program of 1999-2008 gave the value trends of the 1932-D and 1932-S a big boost. The program attracted many new Washington quarter enthusiasts, some of whom turned their attention to the older dates. Naturally, as THE key dates in the series, the 1932-D and 1932-S enjoyed a magical ride for a few years but have settled down since.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 44,000
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 2.5
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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1932-D Washington quarter pics 1932-D Washington quarter historic value trends
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1. Taxay, Don.  The U.S. Mint and Coinage.  New York, NY: Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications, 1966.

2. PCGS.  1932-D 25C (Regular Strike).

3. Heritage Auctions.  1932-D 25C.  Jan 2018 Auction.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.