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1942 Quarter Value: History, Varieties, & Errors

Do you often let your spare change sit in the coin jar for years?

You are missing out on a valuable treasure.

From the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel to the 1983 Penny, several rare and high-value coins are worth sorting through your or your grandparents’ stash. And if you find a rare 1942 Washington Quarter, you could get hundreds of dollars and in rare cases, thousands.

For instance, on June 21, 2023, a 1942D silver quarter with grade MS 68 sold for a whopping $6,300. Another piece graded at PR 68 by PCGS brought in over $4,000 on Aug 17, 2023.

Do you want to learn what makes this 1942 quarter so special? Keep scrolling through the guide.

Brief History of the 1942 Washington Quarters

1942 Washington Quarter

The Washington quarter was first minted in 1932 and has been in circulation ever since. It was made to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birthday of America’s first president George Washington.

However, in 1934, it became a common issue coin and replaced the Standing Liberty Quarter.

The coin was made mostly of silver (90%) with a little bit of copper (10%), a composition that greatly influenced its melt value. At one point, people began hoarding the coins and even chipping off some of the metal due to increased silver prices.

This forced the US Mint to change its metal composition to 75% copper and 25% nickel in 1964 to curb the aforementioned issues. The Washington Quarters have maintained this composition till present day.

Now, you might wonder, “Who designed the 1942 quarter?”.

The answer is John Flanagan. The US Treasury Department tasked the sculptor to craft the 25-cent after his design won the competition.

Here’s something you didn’t know:

The quarter stirred up some controversy because people disagreed about which portrait to use on the coin. Initially, the committee had settled for the works of Laura Gardin Fraser.

However, the Treasury Secretary, Andrew W. Mellon, chose Flanagan’s design. Even when Ogden L. Mills took over as the New Treasury Secretary, he still upheld his predecessor’s choice.

In 1942, the Mints in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco produced over 140 million Washington Quarters. This marked the time the quarter broke the 100 million mark in mintage, with Philadelphia recording the highest production.

The mintage in the three minting centers is as follows:

Series Location Quantity Minted
1942 Philadelphia 102,096,000
1942 D Denver 17,487,200
1942 S San Francisco 19,384,000
1942 P Proof Philadelphia 21,120

What Are the Features of the 1942 Washington Quarters?

Despite various design changes, the Washington quarter has remained in circulation for a remarkably long time, which surprises many people. It is second only to the Lincoln penny.

Based on Flanagan’s design, a portrait of Washington facing right dominated the obverse of the quarter. He also included other aspects, like the engravings “IN GOD WE TRUST”, and “LIBERTY” , plus the production year–in this case, “1942”.

In the reverse, you will find the nation’s emblem–the American bald eagle. It clutches a bunch of arrows on top of an olive branch to symbolize the country’s readiness for war and desire for peace.

But that’s not all!

Above the eagle head, you will see the Latin motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” encircled by the engraving “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA“. Also, there are other elements, such as the denomination “QUARTER DOLLAR” and the mint mark (if present).

Additional Details of the 1942 Washington Quarter

  • Name: 1942 Washington Quarter
  • Category: Washington Quarters (1932-1964)
  • Mint: Denver, Philadelphia, San Fransisco
  • Mintage: 138,999,323
  • Obverse and Reverse Design: John Flanagan
  • Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
  • Weight: 6.25 grams
  • Diameter: 24.3 mm
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Fineness: 0.9
  • Face Value: $0.25

Are the 1942 Quarters Worth Anything?

Research shows that the 1942 quarters cost slightly higher than their face value of $0.25 because of their high silver content. Currently, the melt value of this coin is around $4.13, but this can vary based on the silver spot price.

In perfectly good condition, expect a 1942 quarter to sell anywhere from $4 to $7.50. However, pieces in uncirculated conditions are estimated to cost between $10 and $30, while those with mint state can sell for as much as $1,320+.

Below is a summary table of the estimates for the value of the 1942 quarter in different grades and mint marks:

1942 Quarters Value Chart
Mint Mark Circulated Uncirculated MS 65–MS 66 MS 67–MS 68
1942 “no mint mark” Washington Quarter  

$3 – $7

$10 – $15  

$30 – $115

 

$550 – $8,500

1942 “D” Washington Quarter  

$3–$7

 

$25 – $35

 

$50 -$115

 

$500 – $4,000

 

1942 “S” Washington Quarter  

$3 – $7

 

$10 – $85

 

$120 – $200

 

$600 – $6,000

1942 “no mint mark” Proof Washington Quarter  

N/A

 

$85

 

$110 – $130

 

$400 – $6,000

1942 Quarter Varieties and Values

1942 “No Mint Mark” Quarter Value

1942 No Mint Mark Quarter

If there is no mint mark on your coin, then you know for sure that it came from the Philadelphia Mint. The chances of encountering the 1942 “No Mint Mark” quarter are quite high. Why?

In 1942, the Philadelphia Mint made a new record by producing over 100 million Washington Quarter for the general public.

Though these number accounts for almost two-thirds of the total production, most of the coins were of poor striking quality.

Thus, many collectors aren’t as interested in lower-grade coins. In circulated conditions, these quarters might sell for around $4 to $7.

However, once in a while, you might run into an uncirculated or extremely fine batch of coins that might give you a hefty cash-out.

During the August 2021 ANA US Coins Auction, the Stack’s Bowers firm sold a 1942 No Mint Mark quarter graded MS67+ at $1440.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the 1942 No Mint Mark that garnered quite the price at sale:

Grade Price Auction Firm Date
MS67 $312 Heritage Auctions Jun-2023
MS67 $336 Stack’s Bowers Mar-2023
MS67+ $1320 Heritage Auctions Dec-2022
MS67+ $1380 Heritage Auctions May-2022
MS67+ $1410 The Regency Auction 50 Jan-2022

1942 D Quarter Value

1942-D Washington Quarter

Of the three mints tasked with a mintage of the 1942 Washington Quarter, the Denver mint struck the least amount.

At just a little over 17 million, the Denver Mint produced quarters of a higher quality than those that came from the Philadelphia Mint. These quarters bore the mint mark “D” on the reverse side, right below the olive branches.

In circulated states, the 1942-D value ranges between $4 and $6, while those in extremely fine condition can be priced at around $7.

However, for “about uncirculated” (AU50 to AU58+) coins, the price rises to around $10 to $16. In mint state, the quarter’s value increases, starting at around $18, while in gem state, quality coins can demand $50 or more.

As you can see, the price of these quarters continues to rise as their quality improves. Here is a good example of a 1942-D Washington Quarter graded at MS 68 that sold for an impressive price of $6,000 at Stack’s Bowers in 2021.

Check out other expensive pieces on the table below:

Grade Price Auction Firm Date
MS67 $360 Stack’s Bowers Apr-2023
MS67+ $660 Stack’s Bowers Mar-2023
MS67+ $780 Heritage Auctions Jul-2023
MS68 $6,300 Heritage Auctions Jul-2023

1942 S Quarter Value

1942-S Washington Quarter

Some of the finest coins came from the batch produced in the San Francisco mint. This minting facility struck about 19 million of the Washington quarters in 1942, with the “S” mint mark.

Even at lower grades, quarters from the San Francisco Mint are slightly more expensive than those from the Philadelphia or Denver Mint. For instance, a 1942-S quarter in extremely fine condition might go for about $16.

A 1942-S quarter in uncirculated condition might sell for about $20, while one in MS60 grade might sell for $65.

Recently, a 1942- S quarter at grade MS 66+ was auctioned and sold for an impressive $240. Some more examples include:

Grade Price Auction Firm Date
MS67 $240 Stack’s Bowers Jun-2023
MS67 $312 Heritage Auctions Apr-2023
MS67 $336 Stack’s Bowers Mar-2023
MS67+ $528 Heritage Auctions Jun-2023

1942 P Proof Quarter Value

1942-P Proof Washington Quarter

In 1942, the Philadelphia Mint produced 21,123 proof quarters, in addition to their regular strikes. They made them using specially crafted dies and highly polished planchets.

Despite their low mintage and unique appearance, you’d be surprised to find that they aren’t as valuable. This is because they were produced specifically for collectors. And most of them took good care the coins, so many have maintained their impeccable states.

A 1942 proof quarter graded at PR65 goes for about $60. At PR67, the quarter sells for $159. However, at PR68 and PR69, these coins are super rare, with less than a few dozen examples known.

If you are lucky to find one, expect as much as $17,000.

Let’s look at a few examples of 1942 proof Washington Quarters and their prices:

Grade Price Auction Firm Date
PR65 $504 Heritage Auctions Jun-2023
PR66 $120 Stack’s Bowers Jul-2023
PR66 $264 Heritage Auctions Jun-2023
PR66 $840 Stack’s Bowers Apr-2023
PR67 $149 Heritage Auctions Jun-2023
PR67+ $1,320 Stack’s Bowers Mar-2023
PR67+ $900 Heritage Auctions Mar-2023
PR68+ $3,840 Stack’s Bowers March-2023

1942 Quarter Errors

With 1942 quarter values out of the way, it’s time to look at two rare errors you might encounter in this coin series. They include:

Double Die Obverse (DDO) Error

Double die errors often occur during the minting process when the obverse die moves slightly as it strikes the coin. This causes the design elements on the front side of the coin to appear doubled or slightly shifted.

In the 1942 Washington Quarters, doubling is most noticeable on the inscriptions, dates, and other details of the coin design, especially on specimens from the Denver mint.

1942 Quarter DDO Error

For example, this 1942-D quarter with a DDO error which sold for $6,463, shows the doubling effect on the inscription ” IN GOD WE TRUST”. In other coins, the effect might be visible on the date. However, sometimes it’s hard to notice the error unless you are using a microscope or coin loupe.

Recently, appearances of a high-grade 1942-D DDO error coin in auctions have been very few and far apart. But in 2018, a 1942-D DDO error coin graded MS63 sold for $2160.

Here are some of the best-selling 1942-D DDO error quarters:

Grade Price Auction Firm Date
G6 $55 David Lawrence RC Nov-2019
VG8 $84 Heritage Auctions Sept-2020
XF45 $228 Heritage Auctions Feb-2021
AU50 $300 Heritage Auctions Oct-2020
AU53 $336 Heritage Auctions Apr-2018
AU58 $504 Heritage Auctions Jun-2019

Double Die Reverse (DDR) Error

1942 Quarter DDR Error

The doubling can also occur on the reverse side. Hence the name Double Die Reverse or DDR.

In 1942 quarters, you will see some design elements, like the eagle’s beak, and inscriptions, such as “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “QUARTER DOLLAR,” appear twice.

Like the DDO, double die reverse error happens due to misalignment or slight rotation of the working die during minting.

Based on research, this error is relatively rare and thus valuable to coin collectors. In a circulated state, coins with this error can demand between $50 to $125. But in uncirculated and mint state conditions, they can fetch as much as $5,750.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re an avid numismatic or picking up a hobby in coin collection, the 1942 Washington Quarter is a great piece to check out. It’s not only valuable, but also an important wartime coin that embodies America’s history.

With over 100 million 1942 quarters out there, you might stumble on a rare and valuable piece in your pocket change. But beyond this coin, be on the lookout for countless treasures waiting to be uncovered.

Finally, diving into coin collecting is more than just finding valuable pieces. It’s about immersing yourself in a world that fosters curiosity and creates an appreciation of the craftsmanship of each coin.

We hope you found this topic on the 1942 quarters interesting. And remember, you can learn about other Washington Quarters on our blog.

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