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1965 quarter value – how to identify silver and rare varieties

1965 washington quarter

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The 1965 quarter is an important coin because it was issued just after the US mint stopped using silver to issue it.

In this article, I show you how you can identify rare varieties of this coin and how you can estimate their value.

How much is a 1965 quarter worth?

More than 1.8 billion of the 1965 Washington quarters were struck by the US mint. That is a huge number. Rarity is what creates value.

So don’t expect this coin to be very precious because it is so abundant just like dirt. You can get it for free from anywhere on the globe.

In addition to that, this coin doesn’t have any silver content. In 1964, the US mint stopped making quarters using silver.

Instead, they used 75 % copper and 25 % nickel. These metals are not that expensive. So their melt value isn’t that big of a deal unless the copper prices increase dramatically.

In most cases, the 1965 quarter isn’t worth more than its face value (0.25 $). However…

You can sell your coin for more than that if it is in good condition. The coin should look pretty and has no damage…

Grading companies call well-preserved coins “mint state”, which means it is unscratched, uncirculated and it was well stored a short time after it is was minted.

Since it has no precious metal content in it, nobody was taking care of the 1965 quarter or storing it in good condition.

Therefore, mint state 1965 quarters are relatively rare and can be sold for somewhere between 1 dollar and 50 dollars depending on the grade.

Is that it? Is that the maximum that I can make selling the 1965 quarter?

Of course not, just bear with me.

I’ll show you how you can sell your quarter for tens of thousands of dollars if you find some of the signs that I’m going to share with you in the next paragraphs.

Errors increase the value

Errors are rare. Minting machines don’t always produce them. If they do, they will be repaired or replaced.

In addition to that, the quality department will be continuously looking for error coins. They will be removed from the production line and they will be recycled.

So, if you find a 1965 quarter that slipped through these quality assurance procedures, you are lucky.

Not many of these are found in circulation, this is why they are valuable.

In the following paragraphs, I’ll show you how to tell if you have a 1965 error quarter and how much money it is worth.

Composition error

Quarters and other coins used to be made from 90% silver. Because of the rising prices of this precious metal, the US mint decided to switch to clad.

But, some of the 1965 quarters were struck on a silver planchet (the metal circle from which coins are made).

Apparently, these planchets remained from 1964 and they were struck in 1965. This error is rare. Collectors are willing to pay at least 5,000 dollars for it depending on the grade.

For example, a 1965 Washington quarter with a grade of AU 58 (i.e average grade) was sold for 14,000 $.

You should definitely check your pocket change and look for these.

How can you tell which one is silver?

Distinguishing between silver and copper quarter is very simple. Silver ones weigh 6.25 grams and copper ones weigh 5.67 grams. There can be a slight decrease in weight due to wear.

You need to use a scale capable of weighing 0.01 grams to identify silver 1965 quarters.

If you are coin roll hunting, you can get an idea about the composition of the coin by examining the rim.

Silver ones will be solid and shiny. For the clad ones, you can see the copper core if the outer nickel cover started to be worn out.

Minting errors

These are the errors that can happen during the striking process.

Double die obverse

The letters on the obverse particularly on the expressions “in God we trust” and “liberty” should be doubled. The doubling isn’t evident in the “1965”.

If you find this error, your quarter is worth somewhere between 450 $ and 1100 $.

Double die reverse

Flip the coin and look closely at the lettering in “quarter dollar”. If it is struck twice, this coin can have a value ranging between 25 and 175 $

Why the obverse doubling is more valuable than the reverse one?

The answer is simple, rarity and supply and demand law. If something is rare and everybody wants it, then it will be more expensive.

This video will explain the previous two errors.

Broad struck

The quarter will expand slightly beyond its normal size, the letters and the digits will be flat and spread.

This happens when the collar malfunctions while the dies are shaping the coin. The collar is a ring that retains the quarter in place and makes its edges reeded.

Broad struck 1965 quarters can be sold for 45 $. This is not a very precious error. But, it is not too bad for something that costs 0.25 $.

Struck through

“Struck through” is a relatively common error. Quarters that have this error can be sold for somewhere around 140 $. The grade, as always, has an impact on the value.

Struck through happens during the minting process. A foreign object comes between the die and the coin right before being struck.

This object leaves a mark on the coin. This is why numismatists say the planchet was struck through the foreign body.

As I said earlier, this error is relatively common because many objects can fall between the die and the coin such as dust, grease or oil. Dust is everywhere and mechanical machines can’t work without being greased.

Other less common objects can leave their imprints on the quarter surface like wires, washers, springs…

Only clear significant impressions are considered errors. Minor struck throughs caused by dust aren’t clearly visible and they will be erased over time.

Double-struck (or multi-struck)

This happens when the coin is struck multiple times before being ejected.

The design can be rotated (with varying degrees) or struck on the other side of the quarter.

Quarters with this type of error can be sold for more than 400 $.

Off-center

When the planchet (blank coin) isn’t centered, the design will be imprinted sideways leading in many cases to the deformation of the regular circular shape.

The value of a quarter with off-center depends on the grade, on the percentage of off-center and on what parts of the design are shown.

This percentage ranges from 1% to 99%. 0% percent means there is no error and 100 % means that the die missed the planchet completely.

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the percentage the more precious the coin is.

Coins that were struck slightly off-center are relatively common. Since, rarity is what makes coins more valuable, don’t expect your 1965 quarter to sell for a significant amount of money unless the percentage of the off-center is higher than 6%.

If the date isn’t missing and the coin is in good condition, the coin will be more valuable.

You can expect to sell this type of quarters for a couple of hundred dollars.

Before we move to the rotated die, it’s important to note that the off-center strike needs to be on both sides.

If you find it only on one side then this is called misaligned die error. This video will further clarify the difference between the two.

It’s about a different coin, but you get the idea.

Rotated die

The obverse and the reverse are rotated relative to each other. So when you flip the coin, you’ll find that the other side isn’t in the direction where it should be.

This happens when one of the dies spins around its axis. You can’t tell which one did rotate by examining the coin.

1965 Washington quarters with such errors can be sold for 300 dollars.

Double tail

This is a very rare quarter. Only three of these were discovered. You can find some fake ones here and there. But these magicians can’t understand that experts could spot them easily.

If you think you find a double tail quarter, send it to a grading company. They will examine it and grade it. If it is legit, you can sell it for tens of thousands of dollars.

This error is called double tail because both sides of the quarter are reverse (tail).

So, if the reverse is struck instead of the obverse how do we know the date? How do we know that this is a 1965 Washington quarter?

The answer is simple…

We don’t know for sure that it was issued in 1965. But numismatists think that these three rare quarters were minted somewhere between 1965 and 1967.

The date doesn’t really matter. What matters is the value.

As I said, only three were discovered. The first two were sold for respectively 80,000 dollars and 41,000 $! The third one was sold for an undisclosed price.

Final thoughts

Where is the mint mark on the 1965 quarter?

The 1965 quarter has no mint mark. They were all issued in the Philadelphia mint.

Are pre-1965 quarters still in circulation?

It is difficult to find them in circulation because they were made from silver. Since it is a precious metal, people are hoarding them.

How can I hunt coins?

I prefer hunting coins using metal detectors. They are not expensive and you can use them to find rare old coins.

Their grade won’t be, in many cases, very high because they were buried underground exposed to the effect of moisture for years and decades.

Conclusion

1965 was the year when the US mint stopped using silver and started to use copper and nickel to make Washington quarters.

These quarters have a low melt value but they can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars if they are in a good condition and have errors.

I listed all the errors that I can find and the average price that your 1965 quarter might sell for in this article.

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