1954 Quarter: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
The 1967 Washington quarter was minted at a pivotal point for the nation’s 25-cent piece and coin supply as a whole.
It’s just a few years removed from some major changes which shook the entire foundation of the United States Mint and the quarter itself.
While it’s not a collector’s gem in its normal circulated form, it’s still a fantastic historical landmark when it comes to a sea change in United States coinage.
The original Washington quarter’s inception in 1932 came with its share of major controversy.
A public competition was held by a special committee and the Commission of Fine Arts in late 1930 to design a commemorative medal for the Bicentennial of George Washington’s birth in 1932.
Although Congress had yet to approve it, there were clear intimations that the winner of this competition would also see their design on a new issue of the then-dormant half dollar.
However, New Jersey Representative Randolph Perkins submarined these unformed plans entirely – introducing legislation for a new Washington quarter on February 9, 1931.
Citing the Standing Liberty quarter’s unsatisfactory design, Perkins’ legislation ultimately won out.
The Commission of Fine Arts tried to leverage their winner, Laura Gardin Fraser, into the spot by advising Mint officials that her design had won their open competition and deserved to be printed on the quarter.
Mint officials balked, with some claiming misogyny and a belief that they didn’t want a woman designing a circulated quarter for the nation.
Instead, the Treasury held their own open design competition, with design John Flanagan getting the nod.
Despite protests that Flanagan’s design was inferior to Fraser’s, Mint officials backed Flanagan and pushed the coin towards mintage.
The original 1932 Washington quarter was 90% silver and 10% copper.
This lasted for just over 30 years before a severe coin shortage gripped the nation in 1964.
With silver prices on the rise and silver coin hoarding becoming extremely prevalent, the Washington quarter was changed to a full copper core with a copper-nickel clad cover.
This cut down costs, cut down hoarding of the coins (which also lacked mint marks from 1965-67 to discourage such hoarding), and ultimately led to a much more efficacious solution for coinage.
The 1967 Washington quarter marks the third year of this change and the last year where mint marks for coins outside of Philadelphia were left off United States coinage.
Mints: Philadelphia, San Francisco
- Overall: 1,525,895,192
- Philadelphia: 1,524,031,848
- San Francisco: 1,863,344
Weight: 6.25 g
Diameter: 24.3 mm
Edge Type: Reeded
Composition: 0.917 copper, 0.083 nickel
Designer: John Flanagan
Obverse Features: According to numismatic legend, the prototype of Washington’s bust used by John Flanagan was basically forced on him by Mint officials who wanted a more idealized portrait of Washington donning the quarter.
The source material is a 1785 commission for the Virginia General Assembly by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon.
There is definitely a regal air to the obverse representation of Washington which gives it a sense of class and gravitas over some of its coin counterparts.
However, some detractors believe that the requirement that Flanagan use Houdon’s bust as a source material led to a lack of life to the overall product.
In fairness, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
The word “LIBERTY” rainbows over the top of Washington’s bust on the top rim of the coin.
The letters are generously spaced and, unlike some coins in the United States cache, none of the letters are obstructed by Washington’s head for purposes of showing depth.
The phrase “IN GOD WE TRUST” lies in the bottom left of the obverse in the space vacated between Washington’s chin and the front of his neck.
Underneath Washington’s neck and full bust in the mintage date, spaced out with a similar generosity to the top phrasing.
John Flanagan’s initials can be found in extremely tiny print at the base of Washington’s neck.
Reverse Features: Flanagan’s version of the bald eagle for the reverse carries an interesting angular symmetry to it which almost feels off-centered upon first viewing.
The right wing of the eagle appears to be less spread than the left and almost appears to be condensed by the rim of the coin.
This works in the image’s favor, though, in that it gives the eagle a bit of life and almost denotes motion.
Flanagan’s eagle perches on a bundle of arrows which are framed by two olive branches.
This combination of military and peaceful symbolism is par for the course on several United States coins.
The phrases “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “QUARTER DOLLAR” are in parallel rainbows on the top and bottom of the reverse’s rim respectively.
The type for both almost seem to be fighting with the eagle for space, much more condensed than the phrasing on the obverse.
Even more condensed on two horizontal lines is the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM” which sits in the space between the top phrasing and the top of the eagle’s head.
Overall, the Flanagan reverse to the coin is impressive but comes off as extremely busy as well.
Errors and Variations
In mid-1964, coin collectors were hit with a shock – the US Mint would not be offering either proof or certified mint sets for 1965.
Instead, Special Mint sets were produced at the San Francisco Assay office for that mintage year, along with 1966 and 1967.
After the coinage shortage hit the nation hard in the mid-1960s, the Mint was much more focused on getting coins into circulation than creating special collector’s items.
Therefore, they created this Special Mint series as a sort of compromise.
Just under 1.8 million Special Mint Washington quarters were minted in San Francisco for 1967.
A Special Mint 1967 Washington quarter doesn’t have the full mirror finish of a proof coin, but it looks beautiful nonetheless.
These coins were struck once on a high-tonnage press from polished dies, with a handful of them brought to life with frosted devices and brilliant fields in Cameo contrast.
A non-Cameo or Deep Cameo finished Special Mint series quarter will go anywhere from $35 to $100 on the market depending on condition.
1967 Cameo and Deep Cameo finished coins are more readily available than those from 1965 or even 1966, but there’s still a solid value spike if you find one.
Grading and Condition Issues
The true tell for grading any Washington quarter lies in the condition of Washington’s bust on the obverse, particularly the detail of his hairlines.
This is especially true for circulated versions of the quarter which see detail loss from repeated handling.
For a circulated 1967 Washington quarter to be at the top of the circulated grading spectrum (Extremely Fine, 40-45), Washington’s hairlines must have sharp definition and a clear divide between his hair and skin.
In addition, wear spots on the coin must be confined to the top of the eagle’s legs and the center of its breast on the reverse.
The worse shape that Washington’s hairline is in, and the worse shape that the line work in the hair is in, the worse condition your circulated Washington quarter is in.
If you’re looking to get any value out of a 1967 Washington quarter which is not a special issue or an error, it has to be near the top of the 70-point grading scale.
For a coin to hit the 65-point threshold for a significant value spike, there can only be very faint and light scattered marks from handling.
Mint luster must remain strong and there likely needs to be a pop to first viewing which is evident straight away.
With no silver content and a modern mintage date, normal Philadelphia-minted 1967 Washington quarters have no inherent collector’s value unless they are in impeccable Choice Uncirculated condition or better.
Therefore, any circulated 1967 Washington quarter is likely to be taken at face value unless there is an error which piques a collector’s interest.
Choice Uncirculated (MS-65) 1967 Washington quarters are out there on the open market, carrying most of their mint luster.
Those trade at about 20-24 times face value.
Good (G-4) to Uncirculated (MS-60): face value or just above
Choice Uncirculated (MS-65): $6.16