Do you have a 1978 quarter in your pocket? If so, what is its value? You may be surprised to learn the answer!
Minted over 40 years ago, The 1978 quarter has since become a valuable collectible coin. In this blog post, we will take a look at the history and features of the 1978 quarter, as well as its value in different conditions. Luckily for you!
Curious to learn more about the 1978 quarter value? Well, then, keep reading! Let’s take a closer look!
1978 Quarter Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1978 No Mint Mark Quarter||$0.25||$0.25||$0.50||$6.65|
|1978 S Nickel (Proof)||/||/||/||$4.52|
|1942 D Nickel||$0.25||$0.25||$0.50||$6.65|
History of 1978 Quarter
The first thing you should know is the history of the 1978 quarter. Let’s dive right in and learn more.
The United States quarter is an iconic piece of currency that has been in circulation for over 100 years.
The quarter was first introduced in 1796 as a way to facilitate trade between the newly formed United States of America and its trading partners. Since then, it has become one of the most commonly used coins in the world. The quarter is especially popular in the United States, where it is often used to make small purchases or to tip service workers.
The 1978 quarter is a United States quarter minted in – you guessed it – 1978. In this year alone, Jimmy Carter Jr. was president of the United States, the first women astronauts completed their training, and the Double Eagle II helium balloon carried three men across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history. Lots was happening!
In 1978, the design of the quarter featured on its obverse side, or front, George Washington. The reverse side features an eagle holding arrows and an olive branch. We will go into the design in more detail in a future section, but for now, let’s look at this interesting coin’s design history.
Lady Liberty used to be on the obverse (front) of the quarter, but it was replaced by George Washington in 1932. The design of George Washington for the quarter was created by a man named John Flanagan, and the reason they included it in the design is to commemorate George Washington’s 200th birthday. He was the United States’ first president, so it was important for Americans to honor his date of birth.
There were no major changes to either of these designs throughout this year’s mintage, but there are some errors and varieties that make certain quarters even more valuable, which we will also look at in a future section.
Now that we’ve looked at the quarter’s history, let’s move on to discover some interesting details about the 1978 quarter. Take a look!
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Features of the 1978 Quarter
The design of the quarter has changed a few times over the years, but it has consistently featured an image of George Washington on its obverse side from the 1930s into the current day. The reverse side has typically featured an image of an eagle or other patriotic symbol. Many collectors are interested in acquiring quarters from different eras, because each design tells a unique story about American history.
Let’s learn about the features of the 1978 quarter:
The Obverse of the 1978 Quarter
On the obverse side, we can find a portrait of the left-facing profile of George Washington from the shoulders up. He is stately in all his Colonial positioning, with his white hair pulled back and tied behind his neck.
The phrase “LIBERTY” is inscribed at the top of the coin, arching along the upper perimeter, and to the left of his face and below his chin, there is the phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST.” At the bottom is printed the year in which this quarter was made: “1978.”
The Reverse of the 1978 Quarter
On its reverse side, we can find an eagle who is looking left but facing forward. His wings are outstretched, and he is clutching arrows in his talons. Above it, the phrase “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is inscribed, followed by the words “E PLURIBUS UNUM” down below. “E Pluribus Unum” is Latin for “Out of Many, One,” which is the United States motto.
Below the eagle are two arching olive branches, which symbolize peace. And finally, at the bottom, there is an inscription that reads “QUARTER DOLLAR.”
Other Features of the 1978 Quarter
Now that we’ve looked at the front and back of the quarter, let’s look at a few of its other features, including its metal composition, its mint marks, and its size and weight.
The 1978 quarter is made up of two metals: copper and nickel. There is 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. They had removed all of the silver from quarters a few decades earlier.
Mint marks, which indicate where the coin was made, can be found on some quarters from this year. They are typically located near the bottom right side of the obverse (front). The US mint locations used for the 1978 quarter include San Francisco (S), Denver (D), and Philadelphia (no mint mark).
Size and Weight
The 1978 quarter has a diameter of 24.3 millimeters and a weight of 5.67 grams. It also has reeded edges, adding a little fancifulness to it, as well as distinguishing the coin by touch from other coins of similar size.
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1978 Quarter Value Guides
Now let’s get to the crux of this blog post: what is a 1978 quarter worth? It depends on its condition! Depending on whether you have a good, fine, extremely fine, uncirculated, or rare variety/error coin will determine how much your coin may be worth.
1978 No Mint Mark Quarter Value
The 1978 quarter without a mint mark is from the US Mint location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The worth of these coins, whether in good condition, or fine condition, will likely still be the face value of the coin, which is 25 cents. If you have a 1978 quarter that is in extremely fine condition, then you may have a coin worth around 50 cents. If it turns out that you have an uncirculated coin, it can be sold for up to about $6.65 – so that is where you will find all of your value if you have a 1978 quarter.
While $6.65 is generally the most you will get for a 1978 no mint mark quarter, one in perfect mint condition did sell at auction recently for $2,233, which is super impressive! So, really, you just never know.
1978 D Quarter Value
The 1978 D quarter was minted in the US Mint location of Denver, Colorado. Just like with the no mint mark 1978 quarter, the value is around face value if the coin is in good condition or in fine condition. It’s possible that the coin could be worth around 50 cents if you have one in extremely fine condition.
The only condition that really makes any splash is the uncirculated condition, which can give the 1978 quarter a value of about $6.65, just like the no mint quarter.
And just like with the Philadelphia minted quarter, $6.65 is generally the most you would be able to receive for the coin. However, one in perfect mint condition exists, and it did sell at auction nearly a decade ago for $1,528.
1978 S Quarter Value
The 1978 S quarter is minted in the US Mint location of San Francisco, California. The 1978 S quarter is the Proof quarter.
A Proof coin is a specially made coin that has a mirror-like surface. The Proof quarter is highly sought after by collectors, and its value can range all over, depending on the coin’s condition. That said, pristine 1978 S quarters (proof quarters) are generally worth about $4.52 at present.
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1978 Quarter Errors
The face value for a 1978 quarter is 25 cents, however certain errors or varieties can make them much more valuable to collectors. If you happen to have one of these rare coins in your possession, you could be looking at a surprising return on your investment!
Let’s look at a few of the most common 1978 quarter errors that have been seen and sold to the public.
1978 Off Center Quarter Error
This error occurs when the coin is struck while not centered correctly on the planchet (the blank metal round that coins are made from). The result is then a quarter were part of the design is missing and off-centered. You won’t find these very often, but they do exist, and the more off center the design is, the more the coin could be worth, potentially.
These pieces can usually be worth tens of dollars, generally, depending on the condition. Recently, a 1978 quarter that was off center by 10% sold at auction for about $56.
1978 Improperly Annealed Planchet Quarter Error
When a planchet is not heated and cooled correctly during the minting process, then it can result in a coin being improperly annealed. When this happens with a quarter that is made of copper and nickel, then the copper can begin to show its reddish orange tint.
The value of these errors varies depending on the condition and variety. They are rare to find, as this minting error doesn’t happen all that often. A 1978 quarter with this error did surface recently, however, and it sold in an auction for about $99.
1978 Double Struck and Rotated Quarter Error
Another rare error that can be found in the 1978 quarter is a double struck and rotated quarter. This coin was somehow struck twice, and when it was struck the second time, it rotated slightly.
This caused the images to be doubled, and partially visible to the human eye as they are overlapping one another. A coin like this was recently sold at auction for about $172.50! Not bad!
1978 Quarter Struck on a Five Cent Planchet Error
This is an incredible error, as it’s quite rare to find a quarter that was made using the wrong planchet. In this case, the coin in question was stuck on a five cent planchet – which is much smaller than the quarter planchet. In other words, a planchet that is reserved for a dime was accidentally used for a quarter!
Of course, this error cut part of the quarter’s image away around the edges, and it caused the coin to only weigh 5 grams instead of its usual 5.67 grams. This particular 1978 quarter sold at auction for about $138 recently. Not too shabby for a quarter!
Similarly, someone discovered a quarter that had been struck on a one cent planchet as well! This penny-sized red quarter sold at auction for over $600!
1978 Double Struck with Second Strike Off Center Quarter Error
This is an incredibly rare error, and it’s one of the most interesting errors to coin collectors. In this case, similar to the other double strike error noted earlier, the quarter was struck twice – but this time, the second strike was off center by a great deal.
The result of this was a partial coin, complete with a portion of the quarter’s image, protruding out of the second (more complete) image. In other words, the quarter – which is supposed to be the shape of a circle – resembled something more like an “8” on its side.
This particular error coin sold for over $293!
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Now that we’ve looked at the most common 1978 quarter errors and values, let’s answer some of the more frequently asked questions about this coin.
Are 1978 Quarters Rare?
No, 1978 quarters are not particularly rare. However, there are some special varieties and errors that can make them quite valuable – like the ones mentioned above.
Were the 1978 Quarters Made of Silver?
No, 1978 quarters were not made of silver. They are composed of mainly copper (91.67%) with a small amount of nickel (8.33%).
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The 1978 quarter is a great piece for any coin collector, as it has a lot of history and some rare errors that can make them quite valuable. They aren’t overly expensive to acquire, but if you do get lucky enough to find one of the rare errors listed above, then you might be in for a real treat! Keep your eyes peeled and happy hunting!