We ain’t sure how many times by now we mentioned that there are many different factors that can impact the value and popularity of a particular collectible item. Therefore, did you know that historical background can enhance the value of your coin tremendously?
Collectors love high-graded items that’s true, but what they like even more is owning a piece of history. Especially when that piece represents a big turning point. Well, luckily for them 1966 Washington Quarter represents just that – a big turning point in coin production.
In this article, we will take a look at the 1966 Quarter value, its main features, and unusual errors that make ordinary coins extraordinary and valuable!
Short Story Behind The 1966 Washington Quarter
The Quarter coin minted in 1966 is one of a series known as transitional Washington Quarters. As we mentioned in the previous article (read about 1965 Quarter Value, if you didn’t already) from the beginning of 1965 all coins transitioned from silver to copper-nickel-clad composition.
If you are into coin collecting as much as we do, then we are pretty sure you know a lot about the history of Washington Quarters. However, if you aren’t, in the next few rows we will shortly introduce you to it.
Washington Quarters are one of the longest-running US coins. They were first struck in 1932, in honor of celebrating the 200 years from George Washington’s birth. For the first 32 years of production Quarter coins were officially struck on 90% silver planchet. After 1965, all Quarters transitioned to new clad compositions due to the shortage and increasing price of silver.
Considering that the clad composition was 90% made from copper, and copper is red, the Mint needed to pair it with some other metal to ensure that Quarters keep the silver look. This is why the copper core is coated with an alloy of copper and nickel.
These aren’t the only coins that transitioned to a new clad composition. Dimes were switched to copper-nickles-clad composition, while half-dollar coins reduced the content of silver from 90% to 40%.
Also, due to circumstances the design changed a bit, all raised areas were lowered to make sure all the fine details are still easily visible and sharp. What you need to remember is that all coins of the 1966 Washington Quarters series were struck without mint marks in August of that year.
Why Is The 1966 Washington Quarter Coin So Valuable?
Now it is time to figure out why this series is so special to collectors, and the most logical answer is – transitional error coins. During the transitional period, a lot of coins from the 1965 and 1966 series were mistakenly stuck on the wrong planets. That includes silver planchets of quarters, as well as other coins such as dimes, half dollars, copper pennies, and cents.
We do not know how many of these transitional errors are out there, and probably many of them aren’t still discovered, but they are pretty valuable so pay attention. If you don’t know how to make a difference between a silver and clad Quarter now is the time to learn that.
First and the simplest thing to do is take a scale and measure its weight. Silver is heavier than the copper-nickel combination. Silver quarters will weigh 6.25 grams, while the copper-clad variety will weigh 0.25 grams less, to be precise 5.67 grams.
You can also compare shine and texture. Coins made of silver have more shine and a smoother texture. On the other hand, quarters made from copper-nickel-clad composition are more matte and the texture will be stuck when you run your fingers across it.
If this isn’t enough, you can check the edge. Take a magnifying glass and check what color is the edge. If the reddish-orange color peaks through that means your coin is made from clad composition.
What are Special Mint Set 1966 Washington Quarters?
Besides the transitional error coins, there is one more interesting variety of the 1966 Washington Quarter and those are the special mint set quarter coins. These were struck instead of proof sets in the San Francisco Mint, in a small mintage of over 2.26 million coins.
Unlike proof coins, these were struck on unpolished planchets. The Special Mint Sets included one example of every denomination from that year. They were minted mainly for collectors, to prevent them from hoarding coins meant for circulation. A lot of these coins are in great condition nowadays so make sure you check them out.
SMS coins are graded with an SP number, and just like proof coins they come in “cameo” or “deep cameo” designation. These labels reflect the quality of the coin and the strike. Cameo coins feature an attractive contrast between the flat parts of the coin and frosted design elements. While deep cameo coins have this contrast even more pronounced. Logically, a deep cameo is more valuable than a cameo.
An undesignated SMS 1966 Washington Quarter can range from around $10 at SP63 to $40 for SP68. An SMS cameo designated coin increases in value to $16 at SP63, and $85 at SP68. There are some deep cameos coins sold from $2,650 to, $4,113 or even $6,250.
The main features of the 1966 quarter coins
Suppose most of you who read this article already know what Washington Quarters look like. However, there are probably newbies among you as well. So, if you aren’t familiar with these coins we recommend you not skip the following rows since you’ll find all the basic information there.
All Washington Quarter coins on the obverse side feature a facing left portrait of President George Washington. You’ll notice that right above his head, an inscription “Liberty” is engraved, while a date of minting is curved near the lower edge of the coin. Also, the engraving “In God We Trust” is placed on the left side of his bust, below his chin.
The reverse side is decorated with an image of an eagle with outstretched wings which is standing on a bundle of arrows. Just below the arrows are two curved olive branches and the engraving of the denomination “Quarter dollar”. Above the eagle’s head is the engraved Latin motto “E pluribus unum” and “United States of America”.
Some other key feature that will help you distinguish the 1966 quarter is that there are no mintmarks. All quarters that were minted in 1965 and 1966 are without mintmark no matter in which facility they were minted.
Also, pay attention to the hue and shine of the coin. These quarters are made from a mixture of copper and nickel which gives these coins a distinguished shade.
List of errors found on 1966 Washington Quarter coins
An error coin is a favorite group of variety among numismatics. Not only because they are valuable, but because they are rare and unique. There can never be two same error coins, they can be similar but never the same. We all know how collectors love owning something that no one else has.
Here is the list of error coins found in the 1966 Quarter series:
- Double Die Reverse Eagle Quarter – When the die used for striking coins moves between strikes, in most cases leaves the shadow of a second design. This double image gets transferred to other coins struck by that die. The 1966 quarters include an error variety where you can spot the doubling on the lettering of the “United States Of America” engraving, and it can also be seen in the denomination engraving. This is a rare error and it can bring you up to $900 depending on the condition.
- Foreign objects struck through error – It is a common practice that a foreign object ends up in the coin press. There is a 1966 quarter coin that has a piece of magnetic metal struck into the obverse side. This piece of metal ended up shaped like a horseshoe. This lucky coin was sold for $600.
- Struck Off-Center – When a planchet isn’t placed in the right position during the struck coins end up with an image that’s off-center. The value of this error depends on how far off-center the image is, the more the merrier. A 1966 Washington Quarter with a 30% off-center strike was sold for $800. These error coins are highly collectible since they are rare and always unique.
- Struck on five-cent planchet – A certain number of 1966 quarter coins ended up struck onto a nickel planchet. Some numbers and lettering on the top and bottom aren’t struck due to the wrong size of the planchet. These error coins have been sold for $550 and up.
- Struck on cent planchet – Similar mistake happened when the 1966 Quarter coin was struck on a one-cent planchet. These coins miss a bit of rim and some of the lettering and the color is red instead of silver. An error coin like this will fetch up to $900.
- Struck on dime planchet – There is also a 1966 Quarter coin struck on a dime planchet. Since a dime planchet is smaller than a quarter die the result is at least 20% of the coin missing. This error coin is estimated to be worth around $500.
- Clipped planchet – When a die strikes the coin’s edge it clips or curves. The clipped planchet error coins have been estimated to be worth around $300.
Price Guide For Common 1966 Quarter Coins Worth Investing
The regular 1966 Washington Quarter that has been in circulation does not have any value other than the face value. However, these aren’t specimens we are interested in collecting. Luckily for us, all quarter series feature some unique errors and specimens, all we have to do is pay attention and search for them constantly.
In the table below, you can see all the current varieties and their prices.
Quick price overview
There is a major difference between the prices of uncirculated and circulated coins. For instance, 1966 Washington Quarters in circulated condition are estimated to be worth between $0,30 and $15 while those in mint state are $5,750.
However, a lot of circulated coins are still in good condition and suitable as collecting examples. Here is the list of the top 3 common coins worth investing in:
Most Valuable 1966 Washington Quarter
How To Determine The Value Of 1966 Washington Quarter?
If you come across a 1966 Washington Quarter coin and you think it might be worth more than just its face value then you need to take it for grading. However, if you want to you can first try to do that on your own, just in case to be sure of what you are dealing with.
Determining the value of the coin isn’t easy but it isn’t rocket science as well. What you need to do is pay attention to the following factors and you’ll soon enough know a bit more about your coin. Here is what you need to look for:
- Material – First thing you want to check is what material the coin is made. As we already said some 1966 Quarter coins were mistakenly struck on silver planchets, or planchets of different coin types. These errors are sought-after among collectors and can be sold for a small fortune. Make sure you take a coin like that to a professional grading company to learn more.
- Condition and grade – Condition is always crucial, no matter which type of collectible item you are dealing with. The value of the item is based on the grade they carry. There are a lot of different grades but focus on these four which are very popular among collectors – Uncirculated, Extremely Fine, Fine, and Good.
- Rarity – Rare items are always in demand, and when something is in demand the price jump high. Even though the 1966 Washington Quarter series has a high mintage there are still some rare coin specimens in this series.
- Mintmark – Mintmark will tell you the location of your coin which will further tell you the mintage. The lower the amount of produced coins the better the value. However, keep in mind that the 1966 Quarters do not bear mint marks no matter where they are minted.
Where Can You Sell And Buy 1966 Washington Quarters?
When it comes to trading coins, the best decision you can make is to work with reliable and reputable coin dealers, auction houses, or web platforms. The main reason is counterfeiting. Unfortunately, coins are often replicated considering they are pretty valuable and popular collectibles.
Web platforms like eBay, Etsy, and LiveAuctioneers are great sources of information when it comes to forming your selling price. Here you can research the market and its current price, demand, and supply. However, if you choose to buy a coin from any of these platforms make sure you check everything twice. Look for the credentials and feedback of the seller, and consult with some specialists before investing money.
What Washington Quarters do not have mint marks?
Circulating coins that were minted from 1965 to 1967 had no mint mark. In 1965 government eliminated mint marks through the Coinage Act to discourage collecting while they were trying to replenish the coin reserves. In 1968 mint marks were relocated to the obverse side of the coin.
Is there a 1966 silver quarter error coin?
We know that there are 1965 transitional silver error coins, and it is believed that the same coins exist in the 1966 series, however, no one yet found them. The main transitional errors in 1966 quarters are coins struck on copper planchets.
Anyhow, make sure you check your 1966 quarter coin just in case, maybe you are the lucky owner of the mysterious 1966 silver quarter error coin.
Don’t Miss Out On This Coin
The fact is that clad coinage was not very welcomed by collectors. It was criticized and rejected by most numismatics because it killed all the fun and thrill of collecting, but in the end, they embraced it. Mostly because there are so many different error varieties, and we know how collectors love error coins.
Nowadays, a few decades after that, it seems that interest in these special coins is on the rise. If you still didn’t grab your example of the 1966 Washington Quarter coin, don’t wait for too long.
Hopefully, this article answered some of the questions and helped you figure out how to handle your precious coins. In case you know some information that we didn’t mention here, please do not hesitate to share your opinions and advice in the comment section below.