In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington in 1932, the U.S. government held a public contest to choose a one-year coin design to mark the event. The federal announcement read:
That, subject to the approval of Congress, the
coinage of the United States silver half-dollars during the calendar
year 1932 shall have a commemorative character. That the obverse
shall bear a head of Washington based on the Houdon bust at Mt. Vernon.
That the design
of the reverse is left to the sculptor, with the proviso that is shall
be national in conception.
The clear winner, in the opinion of the
Commission of Fine Arts, was Laura Gardin Fraser, the accomplished
sculptor wife of James E. Fraser, whose Buffalo
nickel design had already won wide acclaim.
After Congress authorized the new quarter, the
Treasury Department initiated another contest. The Commission of
Fine Arts strongly recommended to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon that
Fraser's design be adopted for the new quarter. Mellon refused,
and proceeded with the competition.
I have given further consideration to the subject and am constrained to adhere to the decision of my predecessor, and I select that model [Flanagan's]. You will realize, of course, that the duty of making the selection falls upon the Secretary of the Treasury and not upon the Commission of Fine Arts, the function of that body being purely advisory.
The new Washington Quarter was officially
released on August 1st, 1932, and has been with us ever since. As
for Laura Gardin Fraser, who many felt was the most deserving in 1932,
she belatedly received a great honor. In 1999, 33 years after her
death, her Washington design was selected to grace the the commemorative
half eagle observing the 200th anniversary of the death of our
While This Coin Was Minted...
The Bicentennial of the United States was celebrated with great fanfare on a national scale. In October 1973, the Treasury Department announced plans to sponsor an open competition for bicentennial themed reverse designs of the quarter, half dollar, and dollar. The winners received $5000 each. The entry selected for the quarter reverse was created by Jack L. Ahr. It featured a Colonial drummer, with a victory torch encircled by 13 stars. Coins with Bicentennial reverses were minted throughout 1975 and 1976. The obverses were unchanged, with the exception of the 1776-1976 dual date. Nearly 1.7 billion of the Bicentennial Quarters were released into general circulation.
This website, US Coin Values Advisor, has
compiled an in depth value
trend analysis of George
Washington Quarters. Long term price movements for individual dates
are presented in tabular format. The idea of the tables is to
show collectors which Washington Quarters have fared the best in the
past in terms of price increases.
Key date Washington Quarters are not extreme
rarities, but a number of the common 1932 Philadelphia issues have been
altered to resemble coins from the Denver and San Francisco
mints. Before you purchase a 1932-D or 1932-S, insist on locating
one that has been certified by one of the four top grading service
companies: PCGS, NGC, IGC, or ANACS. If the coin is not certified
(often called "raw") by one of these services, then be sure the seller
is someone of good reputation.
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