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1979 Quarter Value (Rare Errors & Varieties)

1979 Quarter Value (Rare Errors & Varieties)

Quarters aren’t always worth exactly $0.25. In fact, the older a quarter is, the more likely it’s worth far more!

But what’s the 1979 quarter value, and which Washington quarter from 1979 is the most valuable?

In this guide, we’ll be delving into the values of this twenty-five-cent piece and discussing the factors that influence the 1979 Washington quarter’s estimated value. You can use this information to estimate the value of your 1979 quarters!

1979 Washington Quarter Value Chart

Regular StrikeMS-63MS-65MS-67
1979-P Quarter$5$15$140
1979-D Quarter$5$10$175
Proof StrikePR-66PR-68PR-70
1979-S Type 1 Proof Quarter$10.5$13.75$85
1979-S Type 2 Proof Quarter$11.5$15$140

1979 Washington Quarter: History

By the time the 1979 Washington quarter came along, the Washington quarter design was 47 years old. This design was introduced in 1932, and though it remained relatively unchanged, the quarter coin itself saw some major changes between 1932 and 1979.

The biggest of these changes was the quarter’s metal.

Although the original 1932 Washington quarters were made of silver, quarters struck from 1965 onwards consisted of a nickel-copper mixture. The only exception (leading up to 1979) was the silver “Bi-Centennial Reverse” quarter released in 1976.

Still, for the most part, the 1979 Washington quarter was very similar to all Washington quarters that had come before it.

1979 Washington Quarter: Design

John Flanagan, an American sculptor, created the design for the Washington quarter. Notably, Flanagan worked closely with Augustus St. Gaudens, the creator of the infamous $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle.

This design was based on Jean-Antoine Houdon’s bust of George Washington, which was created while Washington was still alive. As such, it’s considered a fairly accurate depiction of the first U.S. President.

The Washington quarter design saw minor changes between 1932 and 1998, primarily in terms of George Washington’s facial features and hairstyle. However, Flanagan’s design is one of the longest-lasting coin designs ever implemented by the U.S. Mint.

In fact, no other quarter coin design has enjoyed such a long lifespan as the Washington quarter. All told, this design reigned for 66 years, helping it become one of the most recognizable U.S. coins.

1979 Washington Quarter Obverse

photo source: PCGS

When observing the obverse (front) side of the 1979 Washington quarter, you’ll see:

  • The year date (1979) at the bottom of the coin
  • The raised image (device) of President George Washington, face in profile looking left
  • The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the lower left-hand side of the coin
  • The legend “LIBERTY” on the top of the coin, arching slightly downward to match the coin’s shape
  • The mint mark (D or S) on the bottom right, directly behind Washington’s hair ribbon

1979 Washington Quarter Reverse

photo source: PCGS

When observing the reverse (back) side of the 1979 Washington quarter, you’ll see:

  • The issuing nation “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” at the top of the coin
  • The raised image (device) of a perched eagle with outstretched wings
  • The coin denomination “QUARTER DOLLAR” on the bottom of the coin, arching upward

1979 Washington Quarter: Features and Specifications

Apart from changes in mint marks and proof strike effects (cameo and deep cameo), 1979 Washington quarters are almost entirely identical. In addition to sharing a common design, these coins also have several shared specifications, including weight and size.

For example, all 1979 Washington quarters:

  • Are 75% copper (with a copper center) and 25% nickel
  • Weigh 5.67 grams (about 0.2 ounces)
  • Are 24.3 millimeters (about 0.96 inches) in diameter
  • Have reeded (ridged) edges

How Much Is a 1979 Washington Quarter Worth?

According to the NGC Price Guide, the 1979-P No Mint Mark Washington quarter in circulated condition is worth $0.30 (good condition, G-4). In about uncirculated condition (AU-50), it’s worth $0.40. But it can be worth up to $140 or more in uncirculated (MS-67) mint condition.

1979 Washington Quarter: Value Comparison

Three U.S. Mint facilities produced Washington quarters in 1979:

  • The Philadelphia Mint
  • The Denver Mint
  • The San Francisco Mint

These facilities struck more than a billion quarters that year, including proof strike pieces (which were only produced by the San Francisco Mint). As such, many 1979 Washington quarters are still circulating today, and this coin is somewhat common.

But despite this quarter’s commonness, the average 1979 Washington quarter is worth more than twenty-five cents. Let’s compare the values of these coins based on mint marks and types (regular strike and proof strike) to find out exactly how much a Washington quarter from 1979 is worth.

1979-P No Mint Mark Washington Quarter Value

photo source: PCGS

Quarters struck at the Philadelphia Mint don’t carry a mint mark, which is why they’re often called “No Mint Mark” quarters.

The Philadelphia Mint produced more than 515 million Washington quarters in 1979, outpacing the Denver Mint by about 26 million coins. For this reason, 1979-P No Mint Mark quarters are the most common type of 1979 Washington quarter.

The value of a 1979 No Mint Mark Washington quarter is about $0.30 in good (G-4) condition and $0.40 in about uncirculated (AU-50) condition. The most valuable 1979 No Mint Mark quarters are those in uncirculated (mint) condition.

An MS-60 1979-P Washington quarter is worth about $1.50, while an MS-67 piece is worth about $140. For perspective, an MS-67 1979 No Mint Mark quarter is worth about 560 times more than the average brand-new quarter struck today.

1979-D Washington Quarter Value

photo source: PCGS

The Denver Mint struck more than 489 million quarters in 1979, almost half of all quarters produced that year. 1979-D Washington quarters are easy to identify, as they feature a small capital letter “D” on their obverse (front) faces, right behind Washington’s hair ribbon.

The value of a 1979-D Washington quarter varies between $0.30 (G-4) and $800 (MS-67+). A 1979-D Washington quarter in about uncirculated condition (AU-50) is valued at about $0.40, making it just as valuable as a 1979 No Mint Mark quarter of the same condition.

Still, the MS-67+ 1979-D Washington quarter is the most valuable 1979 quarter. Its estimated worth is even higher than that of proof strike coins.

This high value likely stems from the fact that 1979-D Washington quarters were (and still are) heavily circulated. As a result, finding one in exceptional mint-state condition is unlikely.

So, 1979-D quarters with exceptional condition grades can sell for big bucks. In fact, an MS-67 1979-D Washington quarter sold at auction for more than $1,000 in 2014!

1979-S Type 1 Proof Washington Quarter Value

photo source: PCGS

The proof strike quarters of 1979 are somewhat unique. While most proof coin releases have few variations (outside of cameo effects), the San Francisco Mint struck two types of proof quarters in 1979:

  • Type 1 (Filled S), and
  • Type 2 (Clear S)

The first of these types is the more common iteration, and it features an “S” mint mark that has raised spaces between the curves of the S, making it appear partially filled in.

The Type 1 1979-S Washington quarters are all deep cameo (also called ultra cameo) pieces. These quarters have dark fields (backgrounds) and brighter, almost silver-colored raised images and text. All of these proof quarters are in uncirculated condition.

The value of a Type 1 1979-S Washington quarter varies between $1.15 (PR-60) and $85 (PR-70). The auction record for this coin is $403, set in 2003 for a PR-70 coin.

Type 2 1979-S quarters are slightly more valuable.

1979-S Type 2 Proof Washington Quarter Value

photo source: PCGS

The Type 2 1979-S Washington quarter features an “S” mint mark with clearly raised edges and a dark field between the curves of the S.

This proof strike quarter is generally considered more aesthetically pleasing than the Type 1 variety, making it a must-have for coin collectors. That said, the Type 2 1979-S quarter is slightly rarer than the Type 1, making it harder to find and more expensive.

The value of a Type 2 1979-S Washington quarter varies between $1.15 (PR-60) and $140 (PR-70).

1979 Washington Quarter: Rare Errors

Although the coin-striking process was mostly modernized by the late 1970s, that doesn’t mean the U.S. Mint didn’t produce the occasional error coin. In fact, the U.S. Mint unintentionally created several rare error coins, many of them 1979 Washington quarters.

These error quarters can be quite valuable, with many selling for hundreds of dollars at auction.

If you’re a coin collector looking to make your collection a little more unique and valuable, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for these 1979 Washington quarter errors.

1979 Washington Quarter Double Curved Clips Error

The metal sheets used to make coins must become planchets (blank metal discs) before undergoing the striking process. Machines punch holes into these sheets to make the discs, which then become coins.

But the planchet-punching process isn’t always perfect. Sometimes, the machines can create planchets that aren’t perfectly round. These discs are often missing parts of their edges, resulting in a “curved clip” error.

Curved clip error coins are typically worth more than non-error coins, with some selling for hundreds of dollars. A 1979 No Mint Mark Washington quarter with two curved clip errors sold for $511.20 in 2020.

1979 Washington Quarter Off-Center Error

All coins start as blank metal planchets (also called blanks). These discs are fed beneath coin dies, which are like thick metal stamps with images and text engraved into their bottoms.

The coin dies apply immense pressure on blanks to create images, resulting in recognizable coins. But sometimes the planchets aren’t entirely centered between the coin dies during the striking process, resulting in off-center error coins.

Off-center errors are rated via percentages. For example, if the coin is only slightly off-center, resulting in about 10% of its original blank surface remaining after striking, it’s a 10% off-center error coin.

Typically, off-center coins that have a much higher off-center percentage are more valuable than those with smaller percentages. Still, the opposite can be true if the design is so off-center that the year date is missing.

Either way, off-center 1979 Washington quarters can sell for hundreds of dollars. In 2022, a 30% off-center 1979 No Mint Mark Washington quarter sold at auction for $408!

1979 Washington Quarter Triple Struck Error

When coins are off-center during the striking process but only struck once, the result is off-center error coins. But when coins are struck multiple times while off-center, you end up with double-struck and triple-struck error coins.

These coins are recognizable thanks to their doubled images, often layered in strange patterns. For example, a triple-struck Washington quarter might show three Washington faces, all overlapping at odd angles.

Double-struck and triple-struck coins can be just as (if not more so) valuable as off-center error coins. In 2006, a triple-struck 1979 No Mint Mark Washington quarter sold for $747.50.

1979 Washington Quarter Missing Obverse Clad Layer

Although Washington quarters have a silvery exterior (and were once made of silver), they’re primarily made of copper. This metal has a reddish tone, as seen in pennies struck before 1982.

To hide the quarter’s copper-colored interior, these coins are clad in nickel, which looks very similar to silver. However, sometimes this final application of nickel doesn’t happen, and you end up with a red-orange quarter that looks rusty.

Some Washington quarters produced in 1979 suffers from this effect. This coin has a shiny silver-colored reverse side, but its obverse face is exposed copper due to a missing clad layer.

When this MS-63 1979-D Washington quarter went to auction in 2020, it sold for $264. Hopefully, its current owner appreciates its reddish face, even if it isn’t quite as appealing as its silvery reverse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have additional questions about the 1979 Washington quarter? If so, check out the frequently asked questions below to learn more.

What’s the Most Ever Spent on a 1979 Washington Quarter?

The most expensive non-error 1979 Washington quarter ever sold at auction is an MS-68 1979-P No Mint Mark piece. This quarter sold for $1,440 in August 2022.

How Many 1979 Washington Quarters Exist?

Approximately 352 million regular strike 1979 Washington quarters exist today, with most still in circulation.

It’s unknown how many proof strike 1979-S Washington quarters exist. But it’s likely that most (if not all) of the 3.677 million proof quarters struck in 1979 are still around today.

What’s the Rarest 1979 Washington Quarter?

The rarest non-error 1979 Washington quarter is the 1979-S Type 2 proof strike coin. Although thousands of these coins exist, far fewer 1979-S Type 2 Washington quarters exist than Type 1 or regular strike (for circulation) quarters.

Final Thoughts

The 1979 Washington quarter is worth between $0.30 and $800, depending on its mint mark, condition, and type (regular strike of proof). The 1979 quarter value will likely rise over time, especially as the coin becomes scarcer and exits circulation.

If you’re a numismatist (coin collector) looking to invest in low-cost coins will appreciate, you’ll want to focus on collecting a high-grade 1979-S Type 2 Washington quarter. These are the rarest and most valuable quarters released in 1979.

Learn more about coin values by checking out these related articles now!