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    Description

    1932-D Washington Quarter, MS66
    First-Year, Low-Mintage Key
    Tied for Finest Certified

    1932-D 25C MS66 PCGS. John Flanagan's Washington quarter design debuted in 1932, at a time when there was little demand for coinage in the stagnant national economy. The Great Depression had reduced the need for quarters to the point that none were struck in 1931, and none would be produced in 1933. The Washington quarter was intended to commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth, a project that had been under consideration in various forms since 1924, and its role as a medium of exchange was a secondary consideration. The Philadelphia Mint struck a respectable total of 5.4 million pieces in 1932, but the Denver and San Francisco facilities struck only token mintages of 436,800 and 408,000 pieces, respectively.

    Collecting quarters was not a popular pastime in 1932, despite the popularity of coin collecting in general. Cents, nickels, and dimes were viewed as inexpensive issues that were avidly collected from circulation by the general public. The Walking Liberty half dollar was popular with high-end collectors because of the aesthetic beauty of its design. The quarter fell in between the other denominations, not attractive enough to inspire the well-heeled numismatists and too expensive for budget-conscious collectors. As a result, few examples were saved by contemporary collectors for their novelty value. The 1932-D Washington quarters were released into circulation on August 1, and the majority of the coins circulated heavily until the 1950s.

    Numismatic demand for the coins finally developed after World War II, and most survivors were culled from circulation by 1960. Today, the 1932-D is scarce, but not really rare, in lower Mint State grades, but the issue is the prime condition rarity of the series in Gem, or better, condition. It is even rarer than the lower mintage 1932-S at that grade level. Currently, PCGS has certified just two coins in MS66 condition, with none finer, while NGC has graded a single Premium Gem, also with none finer (10/17).

    The present coin was the first example certified in MS66 by either grading service when it appeared in our Atlanta ANA Signature in August of 2001. The coin realized a record price of $89,125, a remarkable sum in that era, before Registry Set collecting increased the demand for finest-known examples to extraordinary heights. It realized an even higher price of $143,750 in its next appearance, in a Bowers and Merena auction in 2008, a total that still stands as the prices realized record for the issue today. The surfaces are wonderfully clean and free from the abrasions that usually plague this issue. The reverse is mostly brilliant, with hints of olive-copper at the lower rim. The obverse, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. The center appears to be brilliant but close examination reveals a pale pinkish patina that is surrounded at the margin by a golden-olive band of toning that also contains occasional flecks of scarlet. Exceptional quality and eye appeal are the calling cards of this spectacular Premium Gem. It will be the cornerstone of the finest collection or Registry Set of Washington quarters. Housed in a green label holder.
    Ex: Atlanta ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2001), lot 6044, realized $89,125; Marquette-Yakima Registry Set of Washington Quarters; Chicago Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 4/2008), lot 322, realized $143,750.
    From The Burgess Lee Berlin, M.D., J.D. Collection of Important United States Rarities. (Registry values: N2998) (NGC ID# 2448, PCGS# 5791)

    Weight: 6.25 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Burgess Lee Berlin, M.D., J.D. Collection of Important United States Rarities ]

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