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1997 Quarter Value: Varieties & Errors

The hunt for unique and historical coins is often fun and exciting. So, if in your quest you’ve stumbled upon the 1997 Washington quarter, you’re probably wondering, is this coin worth keeping?

The 1997 quarter retains its legal tender value of 25 cents. However, in the numismatic world its value tends to fluctuate based on the condition and rarity of the coin.

On average, a 1997 quarter in circulated condition teeters between $0.30 and $0.85, however, it can go as high as $500 in uncirculated condition.

This unique coin has a rich history that makes it popular among coin collectors. If you’d like to know just how special this coin is, stick around as we’ll be revealing the 1997 quarter value, background, errors to look out for.

What is the Background of the 1997 Washington Quarter?

1997 Washington Quarter

On February 22, 1732, the U.S. Mint issued Washington Quarters as legal tender, and by August 1732, these quarters were in circulation. This was done to celebrate the 200th birthday of George Washington, the country’s founding father.

Washington Quarters remained in production up till 1998, making the 1997 quarter part of this historic collection. The U.S. Mint struck nearly 1.2 billion in 1997 quarters. As such, it is a fairly common coin people often stumble across.

This quarter is a commemorative piece that holds some relevance to coin enthusiasts and numismatists due to the sentiment attached to it. However, it is not considered one of the most expensive quarters because it is a high-mintage coin.

The 1997 Washington Quarter was designed by John Flanagan, whose design remained constant across most of the Washington Quarters. We’ll properly dissect this design shortly. For now, let’s consider the features and specifications of the 1997 quarter.

The 1997 Washington Quarter Features

1997 Quarter Specifications:

  • Series: Washington Quarters
  • Year of Make: 1997
  • Mint Branch: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco
  • Composition: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel & 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Weight: Copper-nickel – 5.67 grams & 90% Silver – 6.25 grams
  • Diameter: 24.3 millimeters (0.97 inches)
  • Thickness: 1.77 millimeters (0.69 inches)
  • Edge: Reeded

Obverse and Reverse Design: What Does the 1997 Washington Quarter Look Like?

The 1997 quarter bears a close resemblance to other Washington Quarters, with slight differences in mint mark placements, errors, and, of course, dates. Hence, they are pretty easy to identify.

On the obverse of the coin, you can see the famous portrait of George Washington in a left profile in the center of the coin. In the portrait, the president’s hair is tied with a ribbon around the neck area. The obverse also features the following inscriptions.

  • LIBERTY: At the top of the coin, just above George Washington’s portrait.
  • IN GOD WE TRUST: At the left side of the coin below George Washington’s chin.
  • 1997: The date of issue is inscribed at the bottom of the coin below the portrait.
  • MINT MARK: Could be “D”, “P”, or “S”, depending on the mint of the coin.
  • JF: These initials stand for the designer John Flanagan and can be found on the neck truncation.

The central image on the reverse is that of the heraldic bald eagle with outstretched wings. In its talons are a bunch of arrows, and just below that is an olive branch. These are the inscriptions you can find on the reverse.

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: At the very top of the coin, curved downwards.
  • E PLURIBUS UNUM: Sitting in the upper-middle area of the coin, between the :”United states of America” inscription and the head of the bald eagle. Translated from Latin, this inscription means “Out of many, one”.
  • QUARTER DOLLAR: At the bottom of the coin, below the olive branch.

What are the 1997 Quarter Mint Varieties?

Mint varieties tell you what mint facility a coin was produced in. Usually, coins are produced at the Philadelphia, Denver, or San Francisco Mint.

The 1997 quarter was minted in all three U.S Mint locations, with the mintage as follows.

1997 (Washington) Quarter Varieties Composition Mint Location Mintage
1997-P (Regular Strike 75% copper and 25% nickel over a pure copper center Philadelphia 595,740,000
1997-D (Regular Strike) 75% copper and 25% nickel over a pure copper center Denver 599,680,000
1997-S (Proof Strike) 75% copper and 25% nickel over a pure copper center San Francisco 1,975,000
1997-S Silver (Proof Strike) 90% silver and 10% copper San Francisco N/A

Does your 1997 quarter appear to have no mint mark? Unfortunately, there are currently no error varieties of the 1997 Washington Quarters without a mint mark, and the reason your quarter lacks a mint mark may be a result of post-mint alteration and not an error.

What’s the Current Value of a 1997 Quarter?

Yes, the 1997 Washington Quarter is a high-mintage coin, but don’t be quick to write it off just yet. It can still fetch a couple hundred bucks or more if you find one in great condition. We’ll discuss specific values shortly.

Generally, the value of a coin depends on its coin grading, which is determined by factors such as strike, luster, preservation, attractiveness, and rarity.

Professional Coin Grading Services grades coins using a numeric scale of 1 to 70. The lowest grade a coin can get is poor (P-1), and the highest is (MS-70). MS-70 coins are those in perfect mint state condition, and they are usually the most expensive, as they are hard to find.

As at September 2023, the NGC Pricing Guide places the value of a circulated 1997 quarter between $0.30 and $0.85, with a melt value of $0.0513.

An uncirculated 1997 Washington Quarter with an MS-68 grade can go for up to $500. The most valuable 1997 quarter graded MS67+ sold for $3,525 in 2016. If you think you may have a coin of this grading or more, you may have a few thousand dollars on your hands.

With the summary chart below, you can get a clear picture of how this coin is valued according to Professional Coin Grading Services.

1997 Quarters

Grades

1997-P 1997-D 1997-S Proof 1997-S Silver Proof
59 $0.75 – $0.85 $0.75 – $0.85 $5.75 N/A
60 $1 – $1.50 $1.50 – $2 $6.75 $9.20
61 $2 – $2.50 $2.50 – $3 $8.50 $10
62 $3 – $3.50 $3.50 – $4 $10 $10.50
63 $4 – $5 $5 – $6 $12 $12
64 $7.50 – $8.50 $7.50 – $8.50 $13 $13
65 $10 $10 $14 $14.50
66 $20 $20 $16.25 $15
67 $115 $70 $20 $17
68 N/A $500 $60 $20
69 N/A N/A N/A $26.25
70 N/A N/A N/A $65

As it stands, Professional Grading Services does not have enough data on 1997 D, P, and S Quarter varieties with grades 69 and 70. Hence, the boxes above are marked N/A.

1. 1997-D Quarter Value

1997 D Washington Quarter

The 1997-D Quarter has a mintage of almost 600 million. This makes it one of the lesser collectible varieties of the 1997 quarter. It is worth its face value of $0.25 and a melt value of $0.0513.

The NGC Price Guide estimates the value of this coin to be between $0.30 and $0.85 in a circulated mint state, while the USACoinbook places its value at $14 or more in uncirculated condition (MS+).

One of the highest recorded auction prices of a 1997-D Quarter was $978 in 2004. However, more recently, one of these quarters went for $384 in 2019.

To give you an idea of how much these coins can now be sold for, the table below shows some notable auction records for the 1997-D Quarter, according to PCGS.

Grade Highest Price & Sale Date Firm
MS68 $863 (2007) Heritage Auctions
MS68 $384 (2019) Heritage Auctions
MS67 $104 (2004) Heritage Auctions
MS68 $978 (2004) Heritage Auctions
MS67 $75 (2006) Heritage Auctions

2. 1997-P Quarter Value

1997 P Washington Quarter

Almost half a billion 1997 quarters were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, so don’t be surprised if you find this coin somewhere in pocket change as it’s quite common. This variety also doesn’t contain any silver composition, so it is worth its face value at $0.25 in circulated worn condition.

According to the NGC Price Guide, this Quarter is worth between $0.30 and $0.85, but if you lay your hands on an uncirculated 1997-P Quarter, it can sell for up to $115.

The USACoinbook estimates the worth of an uncirculated 1997-P Quarter to be about $13, with a melt value of $0.0513.

Recently, one of these coins sold for $115 in 2020, but the highest auction price, as recorded by PCGS, was $3,525 in 2016. The table below shows some notable auction prices for the 1997-P Quarter.

Grade Highest Price & Sale Date Firm
MS67+ $3,525 (2016) Heritage Auctions
MS67 $170 (2013) Heritage Auctions
MS67 $196 (2007) Heritage Auctions
MS67 $184 (2007) Heritage Auctions
MS67 $127 (2006) Heritage Auctions

3. 1997-S Proof Quarter Value

1997 S Proof Washington Quarter

The San Francisco Mint produced special 1997-S Proof Quarters solely for coin collectors and not for distribution. These were not your regular D mint P mint coins; they were struck on specially polished blanks and unique dies.

Hence, the 1997-S proof quarters exhibited mirror-like lusters with frosty designs and inscriptions that made them very appealing to look at. This Proof finishing places them at higher values than other mint quarters.

The NGC Price Guide places a 1997-S Quarter of grade PF60 at $4.60, while a high quality PF70 could go for $60. According to the USACoinbook, these quarters are worth $5.84 or more.

In 2020, one of these coins, graded PR70DCAM, sold for $20, while one of the highest recorded prices was $719 in 2003. The table below shows some other high auction prices.

Grade Highest Price & Sale Date Firm
PR70 $719 (2003) Heritage Auctions
PR70 $299 (2005) Heritage Auctions
PR70 $253 (2005) Heritage Auctions
PR70 $250 (2004) Heritage Auctions
PR70 $311 (2003) Heritage Auctions

4. 1997-S Silver Proof Quarter Value

1997 S Silver Proof Washington Quarter

Besides the 1997-S Proof Quarters, the San Francisco Mint also struck quarters of silver composition, which are valued higher than other varieties because of their composition and proof.

The NGC Price Guide places a 1997-S Silver Proof Quarter of grade PF60 at $9.20 and one of grade PF70 at $65, while the USACoinbook places the value of one of these coins at $13 or more, with a melt value of $4.1161, due to its silver composition.

In 2020, a 1997-S Quarter of silver variety sold for $34, but the highest recorded auction sale was $496 in 2003. The table below shows some of the highest recorded auction sales of this quarter variety.

Grade Highest Price & Sale Date Firm
PR70 $495 Heritage Auctions
PR70 $380 Heritage Auctions
PR70 $414 Heritage Auctions
PR70 $299 Heritage Auctions
PR70 $253 Heritage Auctions

1997 Quarter Error List

Whether a coin is high-mintage or not, errors tend to increase their value. Some errors might occur in the process of minting due to faulty equipment or accidents. Other times, errors are intentionally created on coins to create rarity.

With a high-mintage coin like the 1997 Quarter, errors are quite common. Here’s a list of some of the errors on this coin that are easy to spot;

1. Off-center Error

1997 Washington Quarter Off-center Error

As the name implies, this error is a result of an off-center design. It occurs when the planchet is improperly placed, and the coin is not struck at the center but rather to the side.

Off-center errors usually occur in varying percentages, with higher percentages attracting higher values. Take a look at some off-center error coins in this category and how much they sold for;

  • The 1997-D 25C Washington Quarter – Struck 20% Off Center. It sold for $103 in 2022 at a grade of MS62.
  • The 1997-D 25C Washington Quarter – Struck 10% Off Center. It sold for $34 in 2022 at a grade of MS62.

2. Wrong Planchet Error

1997 Washington Quarter Wrong Planchet Error

This is a fairly common error that occurs when a coin is struck using metal disks or planchets intended for a different denomination. This error often occurs when mints are in the process of transitioning to other denominations.

Although there aren’t many finds of 1997 quarters with these errors, there are two identical coins worth mentioning. They include;

  • The 1997-P 25C Washington Quarter – Struck on a 5C Planchet. Graded AU58, this sold for $132 in 2021 at Heritage Auctions, Lot 91997.
  • The 1997-P 25C Washington Quarter – Struck on a 5C Planchet. Graded AU58, this sold for $132 in 2021 at Heritage Auctions, Lot 91978.

3. Missing Clad Layer Error

1997 Washington Quarter Missing Clad Layer Error

This is an interesting error that occurs in clad coins. Clad coins are composed of copper-nickel alloys that form layers to create the obverse and reverse of a coin.

If a coin is missing one of its clad layers, you’ll notice that it appears thinner than normal and may look brassy or dark orange.

The missing clad layer error is quite rare. If you come across a 1997 Quarter with this error, it should be worth at least a hundred dollars. Let’s consider one of such coins that was sold recently.

  • 1997-D 25c Washington Quarter Dollar – Obverse Missing Clad Layer with Curved Lip: Graded MS64, this coin sold for $132 in October 2021.

Final Thoughts

The 1997 Washington Quarter is one of the most common coins you can find in pocket change. Some 1997 quarters have copper-nickel-clad compositions, while others have silver compositions.

The silver-proof coins were struck in both DCAM AND CAMEO compositions, making them unique and attractive coins. If you’re looking for something sleek and beautiful to add to your collection, the 1997 S Silver Proof Quarter variety will make a great choice.

Although these quarters are interesting to find, they are often only worth a little as they are not considered rare.

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