$1 coins and 50c coins used to be all the rage at casinos and sporting events. But most coinless casinos now use customized 50c chips in their slot machines. And Americans have always preferred quarters anyway. So how much is a 1967 quarter worth? Ordinarily, $1 to $3 … $5 if you’re lucky. But rare quarter coins can net over $8,000! Let’s find out more.
The History of the Quarter
The quarter dollar is an American coin worth 25c, hence its nickname. In the old days, some people called them two bits instead of a quarter, so let’s learn the trivia behind this name. Back then, the Spanish Dollar was one of the most popular trade coins. It was a Mexican coin that was worth 8 reales. The coin could also be physically chopped into 8 wedges called bits.
It was a common way to make change back then because the coin was pure silver. Two bits were worth 25 American cents, so two bits were equivalent to a quarter. Original quarters were made of silver too, and each coin was worth its melt value in silver. Their value was based on the current market price of silver. From 1796, quarters had 6.014g of fine silver.
It’s a bit puzzling because the coins actually contained 6.739g of raw silver, but only 6 of those grams were fine silver. The official proportion was 89.24% fine silver. After 1838, the amount was raised roughly 1 percentage point to 90%. For reference, sterling silver is at least 92.5% silver, with the rest being base metals like copper. Quarters were just shy of sterling.
But with the price of silver shooting up, quarters soon outranked their face value, so instead of trading them as legal tender, you could make more money by melting them down. These made people hoard silver quarters as tangible tokens. It led to the Johnson Sandwich, which was introduced and named for Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States.
This sandwich was a copper-nickel-clad coin. The obverse and reverse were a cupronickel mix of 75% copper and 25% silver, and the middle section was pure copper. So the metal composition of clad quarters became 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. These clad coins are only worth their face value of 25c because base metals don’t earn much when you melt them.
All About the 1967 Quarter
But what was so special about the 1967 quarter? Well, from 1938 to 1998, quarters had the head of George Washington on the obverse (the heads side). He was the first president of the American Republic after the Revolutionary War won our independence from the British in 1776. The reverse of the coin (that’s the tails side) had an eagle with its wings spread out.
The eagle held arrows in its talons and had olive branches underneath. All quarters bore these devices except for the bicentennial 1776 to 1976 drummer boy quarters. Those had a military drummer on the reverse side. After 1998, the reverse of the quarter often changed. 1967 quarters have no mint mark, so you’d assume they were from the Philadelphia Mint.
In truth, silver prices were shooting up, so lots of Americans hoarded coins for their melt value, causing a coin shortage. The Mint responded by releasing more coins, and from 1965 to 1967, none of these coins bore mint marks. The goal was to discourage speculation based on the coin’s source mint. No proof coins were struck in 1967, but they did make satin sets.
These quarters had a special satin finish, and like all satin finish coins, they were struck on burnished planchets sandblasted for this purpose. The United States Mint didn’t sell satin coins individually – they only come as part of a Mint Set. And while they’re visibly shiny, they’re not as glossy as proof coins. And like proof coins, they were not meant for circulation.
In 1967, the US Mint coined over 1.5B clad quarters without mint marks and over 1.8M satin finish quarters for Special Mint Sets (SMS). These were from the San Francisco Mint, but have no mint marks. All the quarters were cupronickel-clad coins with no silver content, and their weight was 5.67g. But if you break one of these coins out of its set, you could earn a lot!
Common Errors in the 1967 Quarter
Error coins can sometimes sell for premium prices in the secondary market, but it depends on the type of error. If the flaw is caused by the machine operator, you’ll get a handful of blemished coins that can be quite valuable. But if the mistake was on the die itself, then hundreds if not thousands of coins will have identical errors. These are called varieties.
Coin errors are generally categorized on where they appear. So you’ll see an obverse error marked O, such as a double die obverse, or DDO. Errors on the tails side are marked R, for example a triple die reverse, or TDR. For these die errors, the design elements on the coin seem to be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. Common errors on 1967 quarter coins include:
- DDO – visible doubling on ‘Liberty’ and ‘God we Trust’
- Lining loss – the inner pure copper layer is visible on the outside of the coin
- Cut-out – the outer edges of the coin are truncated, maybe due to wrong sizing
- Double denomination – like cut-outs, the coin is minted on the wrong size planchet
- Single curve clip – the coin is clipped on one side
- Triple curve clip – the coin is clipped on three sides
- Missing obverse cladding – the top layer on the front is missing
- Double denomination – quarter struck on a dime (10c), nickel (5c), or penny (1c)
- Strikethrough – a triangular object blurred the coin during the striking process
The Washington quarter is a popular coin, and the absent mint mark on 1967 specimens makes them a top target for coin collectors and resellers. But don’t get too excited yet. Some coinage errors are worth $20 or $30 while some can launch your coin’s value into the high six figures! The best way to be sure of your coin’s purchase price is to get your coin graded.
Grading the 1967 Quarter
The top two places to evaluate a collectible coin are the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). These are recognized institutions that use the Sheldon Scale to rate coins, and they provide globally acknowledged certificates and accreditation. Grading ranges in price from $30 to $300+ depending on your coin value.
The Sheldon Scale runs from 1 to 70, and to get true value from your collectible coin, it has to be in high grades of MS60 or higher, which means Mint State. You can also get good money for coins that are above PR60. PR is a rating that’s specifically for proof coins. You can make money on coins in uncirculated condition – they’d be graded AU50, AU53, AU55, and AU58.
The AU means Almost Uncirculated, or About Uncirculated. But before you rush to email the assessors, note that PCGS only allows its members to submit coins for evaluation, and their lowest membership tier is $69. But as a starting point, you can visit the photo grade page on their website and visually compare your coin to the high-resolution coin photos posted there.
NGC will allow you to request a free appraisal as long as you only want a ballpark without certification. You can also access their online resources if you join their free membership tier. But for higher authentication, you’d have to pay the $25 minimum membership fee. Their highest membership level costs $299 a year. Below are the prices of a few top 1967 quarters.
|AU55||None||Triple curve clip||$40|
|MS64||None||Obverse clad missing||$80|
|SP67CAM SMS||None||DDO – Double die obverse||$275|
|MS61||None||Struck on a nickel (5c)||$300|
|MS68 CAM SMS||None||None||$322|
|MS65||None||Struck on a dime (10c)||$330|
|MS65 RB||None||Struck on a penny (1c)||$700|
|MS65RB||None||Struck on a penny (1c)||$2,200|
|MS68 with Toning||None||None||$5,040|
|MS68 with Toning||None||None||$8,812|
High-value coins can earn you a fortune if you go to coin dealers like Heritage Auctions. You could also flip your coin on eBay for significant amounts, particularly if you don’t have the budget for grading. But remember, online auctions involve fees and shipping costs, so if your coin is worth $50 or less, don’t bother with the expense of a professional appraisal. Try a DIY.
Most 1967 coins didn’t target collectors. In fact, they were designed to dodge collectors! So your resale specimen is probably a circulated quarter. It will likely have scratches and bumps from frequent handling. To retain value, wear gloves to avoid additional contact marks. But an SMS quarter is less likely to have abrasions since it’s the 1967 substitute for a proof coin.
The True Value of 25-Cent Coins
In 1967, almost 2M special mint set quarters were released instead of proof coins. They had a good mint luster and were pretty enough for collectors. But circulated coins from 1967 are still worth collecting, and even an uncirculated 55 can get you a profitable price on eBay.
But how much is a 1967 quarter worth? Most go for $1 to $3, maybe $5. But a coin in mint condition, uncirculated coins, or SMS quarters can hit (and even surpass) the $8,000 mark. Do you own any 1967 quarters? Tell us all about your coin in the comments section below!