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What Quarters Are Silver?

Key Takeaways

  • Modern quarters have a cupronickel clad metal content, though this wasn’t always the case;
  • All quarters struck pre-1965 have silver in their composition;
  • Bullion investors often turn to junk silver coins such as these quarters as a means of investment during economic downturns;
  • You can determine the melt value of a silver quarter through its troy ounce content and the current silver spot price;

Introduction

The United States quarter, or quarter dollar, can be considered one of the pillars of American coinage. Examples were struck by the U.S Mint for over four different centuries. For this reason, it is no surprise that these coins are sought after by coin collectors and bullion investors.

In current days, quarter dollars are struck using a clad composition of copper and nickel (or cupronickel). However, the metal sandwiched inside these coins up until 1965 was mainly silver.

Investors in silver bullion may wonder what quarters are worth money. After all, junk silver is often a route of investment given its melt value. In this article, we will show you what quarters are made out of silver. On top of that, you will be able to know how much a silver quarter is worth through its metal content.

Pre-1932 Quarters

The quarter was introduced in 1796, following the establishment of the United States Mint four years prior. The coin had a face value of 25 cents, a first in American history. It was produced on and off during its first decades, with a standard silver composition that was periodically revised.

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The quarter had five different regular designs before the current Washington version was introduced in 1932. They all have great numismatic value. Nonetheless, all of these quarters had silver content.

Draped Bust - 1796-1807

1804 Draped Bust Quarter1804 Draped Bust Quarter

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America’s first-quarter coin features engraver Robert Scot’s design on their obverse and is known as the Draped Bust variety. They were struck with a 6.739g of 89.24% fine silver composition, or 6.014g of silver. All coins at the time, such as the dimes and quarters, bore this design.

Capped Bust - 1815-1838

1815 Capped Bust Quarter

1815 Capped Bust Quarter

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After the initial Draped Bust coins, U.S coinage introduced the Capped Bust coin. The silver coins featuring this design maintained the 89.2% content or 6.014g of pure silver.

The Capped Bust portrait was envisioned by John Reich, and adapted by Chief Engraver William Kneass.

Seated Liberty - 1838-1891

1839 Seated Liberty Quarter

1839 Seated Liberty Quarter

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The U.S Mint revised their coinage’s metal content in 1838, with the introduction of the Seated Liberty coin. From then on, minted quarters had 90% fine silver or 0.1808 troy ounces. The coins weighed 6.682g starting in 1838, then 6.22g from 1853, and 6.25g from 1873 to 1964.

Their design was drawn by Thomas Sully and by Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht.

Barber - 1892-1916

1916 Barber Quarter

1916 Barber Quarter

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Following the longevity of Seated Liberty silver coins, increasing calls claimed for a redesign of U.S coinage. The Barber quarter dollars were introduced alongside their respective dime and half-dollar, after 53 years of the previous design.

The Barber quarter kept the revised 90% silver composition and 6.25g weight. It has .1808 troy oz of silver. These coins are named after their designer, Charles E. Barber, having a run of 24 years of circulation.

Standing Liberty - 1916-1930

1918 Standing Liberty Quarter

1918 Standing Liberty Quarter

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In the same way as the Barber quarters, the Standing Liberty quarter dollars weigh 6.25g with a 90% silver metal content. The new coins were introduced after mixed opinions towards the Barber issue.

The upright figure of Goddess Liberty was designed by American sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil. The coin circulated up until 1931 when the United States Mint discontinued it for the anticipation of George Washington’s 200th anniversary.

It was succeeded by the release of the first Washington quarters in 1932.

Washington Quarters - 1932-1964

The Washington quarter is the longest-running U.S. quarter design. It features sculptor John Flanagan’s portrait of George Washington. These quarter dollar coins have been minted annually since 1932 and had a 90% pure silver composition until 1965. They are commonly seen as junk silver quarters. The term “junk silver” is not, in any way, an indication of the condition of the coin. It means the coin does not carry much numismatic value, but rather is sought-after for its silver content alone (with the exception of key dates and variations).

Pre-1965 Quarters

1964 Washington Quarter

1964 Washington Quarter

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During the Washington quarter’s run, a rise in the price of silver led to a change in the coin’s metal composition in 1965. At that point, the production of quarters used 6.25g of 90% fine silver. Then-President Lyndon Johnson approved the use of cupronickel alloy for their striking.

For this reason, keep an eye out for coins dated pre-1965. The date on their obverse can be a clear indication that they have a silver metal content. Quarters minted in the Philadelphia mint bear no mint mark, while Denver and San Francisco coins bear a “D” and “S” mintmark, respectively...

1976 Bicentennial Quarter

1976-S Bicentennial Washington Quarter

1976-S Silver Quarter

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The 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence’s signing saw a series of commemorative coins from the U.S Mint. The bicentennial coins, as they were called, were struck in the United States Mint’s Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. The bicentennial commemorative quarters were clad coins, meaning they were struck using cupronickel composition.

However, the San Francisco Mint produced a business strike of the bicentennial quarter using a different metal: silver. They have a 60% silver 40% copper alloy and bear an "S" mintmark. About 5 million silver quarter coins were issued.

Silver Proof Quarter

1992-S Proof Washington Silver Quarter

1992-S Proof Washington Silver Quarter

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In 1992 the United States Mint started regularly producing proof sets of U.S coins. The proof coins are struck in both clad and 90% pure silver content. 

Thereby, such silver proofs sets feature quarter dollars and have a lower mintage of less than 1 million silver coins per year.

How Much Is A Silver Quarter Melt Value

You can determine how much a silver quarter coin is worth through its metal content. Quarters dated pre-1965 have a 90% silver composition or .1808 troy oz.

Simply multiply their weight in troy oz with the current silver spot price. By doing so, you’ll obtain their worth in silver melt value.

You can also check our Melt Value Calculator from our Junk Silver FAQs.

Conclusion

It can be hard to know which quarter has silver content. After all, the 25-cent coin has a span of over four different centuries. They have value for coin collectors and bullion investors. We hope this article was helpful in shedding light on this matter.

You can purchase 90% Constitutional Silver such as quarters and half-dollars from SD Bullion at the lowest premiums over the silver spot. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have. We are available over the phone at 1(800)294-8732, or through our live web-chat feature at the bottom right of your screen. You may also email us at sales@sdbullion.com. We are more than happy to be of assistance.

FAQs

Are Quarters From 1972 Silver?

1972 Washington quarters do not have silver in their composition. The U.S Mint changed the metal content of the quarters in 1965, giving a rise in the price of silver.

Although 1972 quarters fetch a higher price than other issues in auctions, this is most likely due to their rarity. They bear standard copper-nickel clad content.

What Year Silver Quarters Are Worth Money?

Silver quarters dated pre-1965 are made out of silver. For this reason, they are worth more given their melt value. Investors in the bullion market often turn to silver quarters as junk silver to diversify their investment portfolios.

However, quarter dollars struck before 1932 can be worth more money due to their numismatic value. These include the Draped and Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, Barber, and Standing Liberty designs.

Do Quarters After 1965 Have Silver?

Regular quarters produced by the U.S Mint after 1965 do not have silver in their metal content. They are made of a cupronickel clad composition.

Yet, there were some quarters struck post-1965 that contained silver content. These include error coins, 1976-S bicentennial quarters, and proof coins produced by the U.S Mint beginning in 1992.

When Did They Stop Making Silver Quarters?

The U.S Mint stopped striking coins using silver in 1965. Following a rise in the price of silver, they decided to change the standard 90% silver and 10% copper alloy.

Quarters produced after the year 1965 are struck using a clad of copper and nickel. They have a composition of 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel.

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James Anderson
James Anderson
Content Director

A bullion buyer years before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, James Anderson is a grounded precious metals researcher, content creator, and physical investment grade bullion professional. He has authored several Gold & Silver Guides and has been featured on the History Channel, Zero Hedge, Gold-Eagle, Silver Seek, Value Walk and many more. You can pick up Jame's most recent, comprehensive 200+ Page book here at SD Bullion.

Given that repressed commodity values are now near 100-year low level valuations versus large US stocks, James remains convinced investors and savers should buy and maintain a prudent physical bullion position now, before more unfunded promises debase away in the coming decades.

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