You might not bother to pick up a modern-day quarter you see on the ground today because of its small value. But did you know that Washington quarters made during wartime are worth big bucks?
Many coin collectors love Washington quarters, especially those minted around the 1940s. America’s entry into the war in 1941 meant that the year after, there was a need for more money and coins. So, almost 140 million 1942 quarters were struck on silver.
But what is the 1942 quarter value like today? Is it the same as its face value from almost a century ago, or has the price appreciated over time? We’ll learn about all of that and more today. Keep scrolling through this value guide to understand more about the coveted 1942 Washington quarters.
1942 Quarter Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Fine||AU58 About Uncirculated||MS62 Uncirculated||MS65 Gem Uncirculated||MS67 Superb Gem Uncirculated|
|1942 No Mint Mark Quarter Value||$4.60||$6.50||$15||$30||$550|
|1898 “D” Mint Mark Quarter Value||$9||$20||$35||$50||$500|
|1942 “S” Mint Mark Quarter Value||$9.50||$40||$85||$120||$600|
1942 No Mint Mark Quarter Value
In 1932, America celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. One of the ways the government commemorated such an iconic event in U.S. history is by fleshing out plans to put Washington on the quarter dollar.
So, a competition was held to see who could make the best design for what was to be the new Washington quarter. Out of around 100 submissions, it was Laura Gardin Fraser’s design that was most liked by the majority.
However, the final decision was still up to Treasury Secretary Mellon, who preferred the blander, more straightforward design of John Flanagan. And so, Flanagan’s design was what ran in the Mints in 1932. The quarters were struck on planchets of 90% silver and 10% copper.
The 1942 issue of the Washington quarter had the original design. On the obverse, we see Washington looking to the left with the word “Liberty” above him and the date 1942 under his truncated neck. Under his chin are the words “In God We Trust.”
The reverse depicts an eagle spreading its wings while sitting on a bundle of arrows. Underneath the arrows lay an olive wreath. If the quarter has a mint mark, you’ll see it under the olive wreath.
Above the eagle’s head is the Latin creed “E pluribus unum.” Around the coin’s rim are the words “United States of America” and “Quarter Dollar.”
With the U.S. officially entering World War II in December 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was a need for more coins to go around. Because of this, the Philadelphia Mint made over 100 million quarters for the very first time in 1942.
Today, a 1942 (P) quarter that was in circulation can be valued anywhere between $4.60 and $6.50. Of course, this price tends to shoot up if the coin is found to have one of the issue’s common errors, like a doubled die obverse.
Although many of the uncirculated 1942 (P) quarters survived throughout the decades, they were not always well-struck. The coins were produced in such a hurried fashion at the start of the war, so the quality was lower than average.
Because of that, mint-state coins in higher grades are rare, and therefore, very valuable. At MS62, a 1942 (P) quarter can be sold for around $15 today. This number doubles when the coin is graded MS65, which is valued at $30.
The value of the 1942 (P) quarter hits the three-digit mark at MS66, which you can expect to sell at $115. And if your coin is found to be in pristine, lustrous condition at MS67 or MS68, the value skyrockets to $550 and $8,500, respectively.
1942 “D” Mint Mark Quarter Value
In Denver, on the other hand, over 17 million 1942 D quarters were struck. Of all three Mints that produced quarters that year, Denver minted the fewest coins. However, 17 million is still such a huge number, so these coins aren’t exactly rare or that much more valuable than other issues.
Although wartime usually means a higher mintage of coins, the Denver mintage of 1942 was around the same as that of 1941. People presume this is because Denver’s agricultural sector wasn’t doing so well that year, and so production couldn’t be amped up just yet.
The Denver-minted quarters of 1942 are much scarcer in circulated conditions than in uncirculated grades. So, in lower grades, they’re more valuable than their Philadelphia counterparts.
Even in poor condition, a circulated 1942 D quarter is valued at $8. This price then goes up to $10 for an extremely fine coin and up to $20 for an AU58.
As was usual in the Denver Mint, the 1942 D quarters that came out of the facility were consistently well-struck. That means that mint-state, high-grade gems are plentiful and quite easy to collect.
In uncirculated conditions, these quarters were most common through grades MS64 to MS66. Error-free coins could be sold for anywhere between $45 and $115 if they fall within this range.
A coin with a superb grade of MS67 is currently valued at around $500—a bit lower than its Philly counterpart, since Denver-minted gems aren’t that rare.
And at a near-perfect, visually glimmering grade of MS68, a 1942 D quarter is valued today at $4,000. But this price can rise even higher depending on the unique features of your coin.
For example, in 2021, an MS68 1942 D quarter with intense patina blankets in red-orange and rose pink tones that took up a third of the coin’s surface was sold for $6,000. The luster was exquisite, and the coin’s texture was silky smooth, which added even more to its value.
1942 “S” Mint Mark Quarter Value
Finally, we have the San Francisco issue of the 1942 quarter. That year, over 19 million 1942 S quarters were struck. Like the coins in Philadelphia, quality was not the strongest suit of this issue. The 1942 S quarters were often stuck with eroding or overly repolished dies.
Of the three types of 1942 quarters, the San Francisco-minted coins are the most valuable. In fine, circulated condition, these coins cost upwards of $9.50, which increases to $15 in extremely fine condition. And at grade AU58—the highest circulated grade—the value sits at $40.
Now, let’s talk about the 1942 S quarter in uncirculated grades. In the lower mint-state grades, like MS60 to MS63, you’ll find the value of these quarters between $65 to $95.
The price kicks up from MS64 and above. An MS64 coin can sell today for about $105, while an MS65 is just a tad bit pricier at $120. The jump in value gets a bit bigger if we talk about an MS66 1942 S quarter, which can cost about $200.
But the crème de la crème of this coin is its superb gems at MS67 and MS68, both of which are incredibly rare. An MS67 San Francisco-minted quarter can be valued at $600, and at MS68, an enormous sum of $7,850.
Numismatic lovers look to the San Francisco Mint for perfect proof coins even today. However, in 1942, this wasn’t the case. While the Mint did produce a few semi-proof-like coins, the finish is never consistently smooth. So, it’s improbable for proof-like coins to be found in this issue.
The S mint mark on these quarters comes in two different varieties—the trumpet-tail S and the serif S. However, the difference isn’t that huge and noticeable to warrant a higher value for one of them.
1942 Quarter Grading
The value of a 1942 Washington quarter is always tied to its condition. The higher its coin grade, the more expensive you can sell it for.
Trying to assess your coin to see what grade its condition is in? Here’s what you need to look out for to check if your coin is in mint-state, uncirculated condition:
- No wear on the high points of Washington’s face, like his cheek area
- Washington’s neck, right under his ear, remains raised and has no smoothing
- The ridge between the eagle’s shoulders to the tips of its wings is distinctly raised
- High points like the eagle’s legs don’t have any noticeable signs of heavy wear
Having trouble grading your own 1942 Washington quarters? Watch this video to assess your coin’s grade more accurately:
Rare 1942 Quarter Error List
Because the 1942 Washington quarters were minted during the frantic pressure of wartime, many of them escaped from the U.S. Mints even with obvious errors.
1942 Quarter Doubled Die Obverse or Reverse Error
The 1942 issue of the Washington quarter is abundant in doubled die errors, either in the obverse or reverse of the coins. This is because the Mints frantically produced as many coins as they could in line with wartime, which led to master dies that were nowhere near perfect.
A doubled die error isn’t so much an issue with how many times a planchet was stamped, but how the die is manufactured. Issues during the hubbing process can create a doubling in the dies themselves. In short, every coin stamped by a doubled die will have a double image of the design.
In the 1942 quarters, it’s easiest to find this doubling on the letters and numbers of the coin, specifically the year 1942 and the phrase “In God We Trust.” For coins with “D” or “S” mint marks, it’s also worth checking if these small letters have doubling as well.
One example of a quarter that has this error is a 1942 D quarter in AU50. It had doubling on its obverse and sold for over $860 in 2008 (an AU50’s value today is just $12.50).
Of course, the higher the grade of your coin, the more valuable it will be with this error. Another coin that had a doubled die obverse is this MS60 coin that had very thick letters on the obverse. It sold for over $1,700.
1942 Quarter Repunched Mint Mark Error
A coin gets a repunched mint mark error when the die assigned to punch the mint mark letter stamps the planchet twice. This results in a second impression of that letter overlapping (or trying to cover up) the first punch. It’s rare to find a second mint mark that doesn’t overlap with the first.
There are plenty of known repunched mint mark errors found in the 1942 issue of the Washington quarter in both Denver and San Francisco. If you have a 1942 quarter from these two Mints, check out your coin’s mint mark under a microscope to see if it has been repunched.
Repunched mint marks happen for many reasons. Whether it was purely by accident or to correct a first punch that wasn’t aligned correctly, a repunched mint mark increases a 1942 quarter’s value.
1942 Quarter FAQs
Are quarters from 1942 made of silver?
Yes. Although modern-day quarters are made of copper and nickel, the Washington quarters minted in 1942 contained 90% silver and 10% copper. Their worth will always be tied to the current melt value of silver. That is why they are more valuable than today’s Washington quarters.
Where is the mint mark on a 1942 quarter?
If your 1942 Washington quarter was minted in either Denver or San Francisco, it will have a mint mark (either “D” or “S”). You can find this mint mark on the reverse of the coin, close to the bottom. It should sit right under the olive wreath and above the second R in the word “Quarter.”
How many quarters were made in 1942?
Here’s a breakdown of the number of Washington quarters produced in each of the U.S. Mints back in 1942:
- Philadelphia: 102,096,000
- Denver: 17,487,200
- San Francisco: 19,384,000
All in all, the U.S. produced a total of 138,967,200 Washington quarters in 1942.