1934 quarter coin

These days we think of quarters as small change, but back in 1934, a quarter coin was equal in value to $5.10 today. If you’re thinking about starting a quarter coin collection, you might be wondering which years are worth keeping an eye out for.

1934 was the second year that the Washington quarter coin was struck in the United States, with the first minting occurring in 1932. In 1933, none of these coins were produced due to overproduction the year before.

How much is a 1934 quarter coin worth, and are they worth investing in?

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about this pre-WWII coin.

1934 Quarter Coin History and Info

The Washington quarter was first struck in 1932 and is still the present 25-cent piece issued by the United States Mint. This coin replaced the Standing Liberty quarter. The design for the depiction of George Washington on the obverse side of the coin was created by the sculptor John Flanagan.

These silver quarters entered circulation on August 1, 1932. Until the Mint transitioned to copper-nickel clad coinage three decades later, these coins continued to be struck in silver.

There were about 6.2 million of these quarter coins struck in 1932. Most of them (about 5.4 million) were coined at the Philadelphia Mint. There were just over 400,000 produced at both the San Francisco and Denver Mints.

There weren’t any quarters struck at any mint during the year 1933 due to the 1932 issue causing an oversupply.

There were three different varieties created in the first three years of striking. These are known as the Light Motto, the Medium Motto, and Heavy Motto, which refer to the appearance of “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the coin.

In the 1934 Philadelphia strikes, all three of these varieties were used. In the 1934 Denver Mint coins, only the Medium Motto and Heavy Motto were used.

Beginning in 1936, only pieces of the Heavy Motto variety were struck at all Mint sites.

Quarters that were struck in 1964 or earlier are made of 90% silver. This means that they are often worth several times their face value.

Another U.S. coin that is 90% silver is the 1916 Mercury dime. Check out this article to learn more about this coin’s value, mint types, and more.

1934 Quarter Errors

As mentioned above, there are three varieties of the 1934 quarter coin struck, the Light Motto, Medium Motto, and Heavy Motto. Another variety is due to an error on the coin’s obverse of a double die. On these coins, you can easily identify that the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is doubled.

These doubled die quarters were minted in Philadelphia but don’t have a mintmark.

1934 Quarter Value

The first thing a collector will analyze when looking at a 1934 quarter coin is its condition.

The starting value for a 1934 quarter coin in “average” condition is about $8.00. However, one of these coins in certified mint state (MS+) could be purchased at auction for as much as $4,820.

When we say average, we mean in a condition that is similar to other coins that were issued in the same year. In order for a coin to be in mint state, one of the top coin grading companies will have to certify it as such.

Light Motto 1934 Quarter Coin Philadelphia Mint

This coin was minted at the Philadelphia Mint but has no mintmark. You can identify this coin by noting the nearly indistinct and blurry presentation of the “IN GOD WE TRUST” motto.

The Philadelphia Mint was the first mint facility in the United States and was opened due to the Coinage Act of 1792. These days, the Philadelphia Mint can produce up to one million coins in thirty minutes. For the original mint to produce one million coins, it took three years.

The approximate value of these coins depending on the condition are:

  • Good G(4): $5.83
  • Very Good VG(8): $6.43
  • Fine F(12): $6.71
  • Very Fine VF(20): $6.98
  • Extremely Fine EF(40): $9.11
  • About Uncirculated AU(50): $28
  • Uncirculated MS(60): $55
  • Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65): $391

You can recognize these coins easily because the motto is very faint. The melt value of this coin is about $4.13.

Medium Motto 1934 Quarter Coin Philadelphia Mint

The Medium Motto 1934 coins can be identified by the shape of the letter “W”. You’ll notice that the top of the center point in the W is either level or below the two other sides of the letter.

  • Good G(4): $5.83
  • Very Good VG(8): $6.43
  • Fine F(12): $6.71
  • Very Fine VF(20): $6.98
  • Extremely Fine EF(40): $9.11
  • About Uncirculated AU(50): $28
  • Uncirculated MS(60): $55
  • Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65): $391

It is easiest to identify the Medium Motto by looking at photos of Heavy and Light Motto coins. It is easily distinguishable from the Light Motto but requires a closer look in order to determine whether it is Medium or Heavy Motto.

Medium Motto coins were printed in both Philadelphia and Denver. However, 1934 quarter coins minted in Denver are worth more because they are rarer.

The melt value of this coin is about $4.13.

Heavy Motto 1934 Quarter Coin Philadelphia Mint

Heavy Motto 1934 quarter coins have the boldest and thickest motto out of the three varieties. You’ll notice that the center point of the letter “W” is taller than both the left and right sides.

  • Good G(4): $5.83
  • Very Good VG(8): $6.43
  • Fine F(12): $6.71
  • Very Fine VF(20): $6.98
  • Extremely Fine EF(40): $9.11
  • About Uncirculated AU(50): $28
  • Uncirculated MS(60): $55
  • Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65): $391

Heavy Motto coins were printed in both Philadelphia and Denver. However, 1934 quarter coins minted in Denver are worth more because they are rarer.

The melt value of this coin is about $4.13.

There have been many different valuable silver coins printed in the history of the U.S. Mint. One of these is the 1885 Morgan Silver Dollar, which you can learn more about here.

1934 D Quarter Coin

If you find a “D” mintmark on your coin, it means that it was minted in Denver. Since these were struck in lower quantities, they can be of higher value than those struck in Philadelphia.

The Denver Mint struck its first coins in 1906. It is still producing coins for circulation to this day, as well as commemorative coins and mint sets. There is a D mint mark on coins produced in this location (though D mint marks on coins from before the Denver Mint opened indicate the Dahlonega Mint) and it is the single largest coin producer in the entire world.

The approximate value of these coins depending on the condition are:

  • Good G(4): $5.82
  • Very Good VG(8): $6.42
  • Fine F(12): $6.97
  • Very Fine VF(20): $11.19
  • Extremely Fine EF(40): $28
  • About Uncirculated AU(50): $93
  • Uncirculated MS(60): $280
  • Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65): $948

The melt value of this coin is about $4.13.

Double Die 1934 Quarter Coin

This is one of the major error coins, where the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” is doubled on the obverse of the coin. The approximate value of these coins depending on the condition are:

  • Good G(4): $73
  • Very Good VG(8): $83
  • Fine F(12): $93
  • Very Fine VF(20): $223
  • Extremely Fine EF(40): $336
  • About Uncirculated AU(50): $643
  • Uncirculated MS(60): $1,108
  • Brilliant Uncirculated MS(65): $4,828

The melt value of this coin is about $4.13.

If you’re looking for other valuable U.S. silver coins, you might be interested in the 1941 Walking Liberty Half Dollar. You can learn more about this collector’s item here.

1934 Washington Quarter Grading

It can take many years of experience to learn the skill of grading Washington silver quarters. However, you can get a rough sense of your coin’s grading by using this guide.

About Good-3

These coins are barely legible due to being heavily worn. The date is still readable but some of the lettering, devices, and legends might be worn smooth.

Good-4

This coin is, overall, heavily warn. The lettering, devices, date, and legends are readable but in a few areas might be quite faint. You can see all of the major features at least in outline form.

Very Good-8

This is a well-worn coin where the major elements are defined and the design is clear. However, they are overall lacking in detail and flat.

Fine-12

Over the entire surface of the coin, you can see moderate, even wear. The legends, lettering, and date are readable and clear and the major design elements are bold.

Very Fine-20

Only on the highest part of the design will you see moderate to minor wear. Overall, the coin is attractive and pleasing.

Extra Fine-40

There will only be a very small amount of wear on the very highest parts of the quarter coin. The design elements are well defined and the details are sharp. There are no major defects and there might still be some traces of mint luster.

About Uncirculated-55

Only on the highest points of the coin can you see very minor abrasions or traces of wear. The coin surfaces are well preserved and the mint luster is almost complete.

Mint State-63

On this coin, you cannot see any traces of wear from circulation. There are minor impairments to the mint luster but it is otherwise complete. The major design elements are visible without the help of magnification but bag marks, contact marks, and hairline scratches exist.

Mint State-65

The entire surface of the coin is covered by an undisturbed, high-quality mint luster. Bag marks and contact marks are small and few. A few hairlines might be visible with magnification but the coin is well struck.

This coin has an above-average appeal when viewed with the naked eye.

Mint State-67

The original mint luster is almost perfect and is complete. In order to qualify at this condition level, there are only three or four unnoticeable and very small contact marks. With magnification, you might be able to find a few minor hairlines but otherwise, this coin has an extraordinary overall eye appeal.

1934 Quarter Coin Investment Outlook

The George Washington quarter is by far one of the most popular coins collected today. Since all of the quarter coins struck between 1932 and 1964 were largely made of silver, they each have a minimal value of around $4 or more. This means that Washington quarter coins are worth hanging on to regardless of which specific year or if it is particularly rare.

Silver is often viewed as a safe haven investment that can act as a hedge against stocks and inflation. The price-performance and outlook of silver can be impacted by its use as an industrial metal in many fields.

Silver acts as an inflation hedge because it has intrinsic worth as a physical asset. It tends to fair well when interest rates are low and holds its value long term. As of May 2021, the price of silver was up 70% in just one year.

Many experts predict that demand for silver will increase substantially in the years to come. This is because it is used in a variety of fields including in many technological applications such as the electric automotive industry and solar energy, both of which are rapidly expanding fields.

The 1934 double die obverse is definitely the most valuable of the quarter coins struck during this year. Worth $73 or more, this is the 1934 Washington coin you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

The 1934 D quarter coin is the next most valuable of the bunch. However, the condition is key when it comes to its value.  In terms of the 1934 Light, Medium, and Heavy Motto versions out of Philadelphia, a higher quality condition can still reap a reasonable return.

If you are interested in investing in a 1934 quarter coin, consider purchasing a 1934 D coin or a 1934 double die obverse, as these can be expected to become rarer as the years go on.

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