Washington Quarter (1932-1998)
Washington Quarter – In 1931, the United States of America was in a dark pit of economic desperation. The Great Depression had caused a great deal of financial woe for nearly everyone in the country and the times seemed as bleak as they were poor. However, 1932 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington and the federal government decided this was an event to be celebrated with full force. At the behest of the Treasury Department, the government ultimately decided to hold a design contest for a new quarter featuring the visage of President Washington.
The design chosen was one created by John Flanagan, but the choice was not without its criticism. Many felt that the design was boring, lifeless, and far too conservative to be struck. Additionally, there was protest that superior designs were being overlooked because the artists were women. Nonetheless, the government held firm in its initial decision and Flanagan’s design was ultimately the one that ended up being used.
The design itself was simple, but not generally considered to be a good fit for a metal-based artwork. Washington is the dominant and central figure of the design; he faces left and above him is inscribed the word ‘LIBERTY’. To left, there is the phrase ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ engraved on the coin. The reverse side of the coin features a mighty eagle spreading its wings, like so many coin designs before this one. The eagle is surrounded by the phrase ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’. Above it reads ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’ and below is the phrase ‘ QUARTER DOLLAR’ next to a wreath.
The main advantage of the coin was its efficiency in terms of production; the simplicity of the design meant it could be struck with a single blow. On the flip side, there was what was generally to be considered an inadequate artistic design and weak materials. In fact, the materials were so weak that in some years the inscriptions could hardly be read at all.
Washing Quarters tend to be hugely popular with collectors and, as a general rule, are usually collected in date and mint combinations. There were coins issued every year in the series with the exception of 1933. While not particularly rare in any part of the series, some years such as 1932 and 1936 have a lesser quantity and can fetch a higher price than other variations. While people collect Washington Quarters in all grades and qualities, most collectors prefer mint states. This series of coins can be especially enticing to collectors on account of the sheer variation.
For those who want to study the history of American coins, there is seldom a better choice than Washington Quarters, which have so many spectacular differences and breadth of intricacies. While the design is not generally considered to be one of the best of the American Quarter designs, there are still many other factors that might lead collectors to the Washington Quarter, such as its more ready availability and historical value. In any case, this coin represents a very strong choice for many collectors.