Do you have a 1788 quarter in your collection? What makes some 1788 quarters worth more than others? Want to know the true value of your 1788 quarter? Keep reading to find out!
As the first silver coin produced by the United States Mint, the 1788 quarter holds a special place in American coinage history. Its value varies depending on its condition, with well-preserved examples commanding higher prices. In this article, we will delve into the history of the 1788 quarter coins and discuss their value in light of the current market rates.
Is the 1788 Quarter Worth Collecting?
The 1788 state quarters, which were released from 1999 to 2008 are not highly valued by collectors due to their recent release and high production numbers.
Uncirculated versions of these quarters can be purchased for between $1 and $5, while proof and silver proof versions typically cost between $10 and $25. Circulated regular issue coins generally sell for their face value of 25 cents, while circulated silver proof coins tend to sell for around their silver melt value of $3 to $4.
However, as with any type of collectible currency, there may be rare exceptions that command higher prices, such as coins with exceptional minting or rare errors. Whether you are a seasoned collector or new to the world of coin collecting, the 1788 quarter is an interesting and valuable coin to add to your collection.
Brief History of the 1788 Quarters
The 1788 quarters were part of a commemorative series issued by the US Mint, which ran from 1999 to 2008 and honored each of the 50 states in the order they joined the Union or ratified the Constitution.
The term “1788 quarters” specifically refers to the eight coins commemorating the states that joined the Union in 1788:
- New Hampshire
- New York, Virginia
- South Carolina
Each coin features a design related to the respective state on its reverse and a portrait of George Washington on the obverse. The series had a high mintage, with at least 1 billion coins being produced for each state, except for North Carolina, which also joined the Union in 1789 and had a mintage of just over 1 billion coins.
The 50 States series was extremely popular with collectors, generating around $3 billion in profit for the US government. The series also allowed for public participation in the design process, with final designs being put to a vote in 17 states and designs being submitted or consulted on by the public in many others. In total, over 3.5 million Americans were involved in the design process.
The value of a 1788 quarter can vary based on several factors, including its condition, rarity, and demand. Understanding these factors can help determine the current value of a 1788 quarter and how it may change over time.
Determining the Value of a 1788 Quarter
The following are the guidelines for determining the value of a 1788 quarter:
- Most 1788 quarters were made of base metal and intended for circulation. They were minted at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco facilities and their mint mark (P, D, or S) can be found on the obverse of the coin under George Washington's ponytail. These circulated quarters are not rare and have a value equal to their face value of 25 cents.
- Proof coins were produced at the San Francisco mint for collectors and are characterized by their polished planchets and exceptional detail. Most proof coins were made of base metal and had a value ranging from $5 to $60, depending on their condition.
- A smaller number of proof coins were also minted in silver at the San Francisco mint and sold as part of sets with a dime and a half-dollar. These coins have an intrinsic value due to their composition and can be worth anywhere from $5 to $90, depending on their quality.
- The value of a 1788 quarter can be significantly higher for the finest examples of the coin. For instance, a 1788 New York quarter minted in Denver in 2001 and graded MS (mint state) 68 by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) sold for $1,100 at auction. This coin was one of the best examples of the New York 1788 quarter, receiving a maximum grading of 70 points and being classified as “gem quality.” Other 1788 quarters graded MS 68 by either the PCGS or the Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) may also have high values.
Exploring the 1778 Quarters and Their Value
Let us now look at the eight 1788 commemorative quarters in order of their production date, assessing their unique properties and potential value on the collector’s market today.
The Georgia 1788 Quarter
The Georgia 1788 Quarter was released in 1999 as part of the United States Mint's state quarter program. It commemorates Georgia's formal joining of the United States in 1788, which was marked by the state's ratification of the United States Constitution.
The quarter features a bust of President George Washington on the obverse and a peach surrounded by oak branches on the reverse, which represents Georgia's nickname as the “peach state” and its official state tree, respectively.
However, the outline map of Georgia on the reverse accidentally left out Dade County, which had a history of political strife and attempted to secede from the state and the United States in 1860, though this was not legally recognized. The Georgia 1788 Quarter was produced in large quantities, with the Philadelphia and Denver Mints producing over 900 million regular-issue coins.
The San Francisco Mint also produced limited numbers of proof and silver-proof coins for collectors. While the standard issue Georgia 1788 Quarter is not particularly rare and usually does not exceed its face value of 25 cents in circulated condition, the proof and silver proof versions are worth significantly more, with uncirculated versions selling for between $10 and $38.
The Connecticut 1788 Quarter
The Connecticut 1788 Quarter is the second coin produced in the States quarters program, commemorating the state's joining of the Union in 1788. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of George Washington, while the reverse features an image of the iconic Charter Tree, a symbol of Connecticut's history and self-governance.
In 1662, King Charles II of England granted the colony of Connecticut a royal charter granting it the right to self-governance and the ability to choose its leaders.
However, in 1687, King James II attempted to take away the charter and make Connecticut a fully controlled colony of England. The charter was hidden in a hollow oak tree, known as the Charter Oak, on the Wylly’s estate, symbolizing Connecticut and American freedom.
The standard issue Connecticut 1788 Quarter, released in 1999, is made of a clad composition of nickel and copper, with small quantities of premium clad proof and silver proof versions also produced.
The United States Mint produced a total of 1,346,624,000 Connecticut 1788 quarters, making it one of the most commonly circulated state quarters. Circulated standard-issue coins are worth 25 cents, while uncirculated versions can sell for between $1.5 and $5, depending on the condition.
Proof versions are more valuable, selling for between $8 and $20 in their original release state, while silver proof versions can sell for between $28 and $38 in uncirculated condition, with a base price set by its silver melt value of almost $4.
The Massachusetts 1788 Quarter
The Massachusetts 1788 Quarter is a commemorative coin issued by the United States Mint to honor the state of Massachusetts. The reverse side of the coin features an image of the Minuteman statue in Concord, Massachusetts, with an outline of the state's map in the background.
The inscription “Massachusetts 1788” also appears on the reverse side, signifying the year that the state joined the Union. The mintage for this quarter is 1,163,784,000, making it one of the top 10 state quarters by total numbers struck.
On average, an uncirculated standard issue Massachusetts quarter can sell for between $1 and $4, depending on its grade level, while circulated pieces are typically only worth their face value of 25 cents. Proof variants of the Massachusetts quarter retail for between $4 and $15, while the silver proof version is valued between $12 and $20.
The Maryland 1788 Quarter
The Maryland 1788 Quarter is a commemorative coin that honors the state of Maryland's official symbols and motto. The reverse of the coin features the Maryland Statehouse, flanked by two branches from the white oak tree, the state's official tree.
The reverse also includes the inscriptions “Maryland 1788,” the state's motto “The Old Line State,” and “E Pluribus Unum,” a motto of the United States. The Maryland 1788 Quarter has a mintage of 1,234,732,000 and is worth between $1 and $4 in uncirculated condition.
Proof versions are worth between $4 and $15, depending on their MS rating, while silver proof versions are worth between $12 and $20. Error coins and other special variants of the Maryland 1788 Quarter are highly sought after by collectors and can sell for significantly higher prices at auction.
The South Carolina 1788 Quarter
The South Carolina 1788 Quarter is adorned with a number of symbols on its reverse side, including an outline of the state map with a star marking the location of the capital city, Columbia, as well as a palmetto tree, a yellow jessamine flower, and a Carolina wren bird. These symbols are all recognized emblems of the state, but the palmetto tree holds particular historical significance.
During the Revolutionary War, a fort made of palmetto wood helped the South Carolinians defend against a British attack on Charleston Harbor, making the tree a symbol of freedom to the state's residents.
This quarter was the eighth coin released in the 50 State Quarters Program and the third released in 2000, and it bears the inscription “South Carolina 1788,” commemorating the state's admission to the Union. The United States Mint produced a total of 1,308,784,000 South Carolina 1788 quarters, making it the third most minted coin in the program.
On average, uncirculated standard-clad South Carolina quarters in good condition are worth between $1 and $4, while proof variants are worth between $4 and $15, and silver-proof versions are worth between $12 and $20. Circulated pieces are typically only worth their face value of 25 cents.
The New Hampshire 1788 Quarter
The reverse side of this quarter features an iconic rock formation known as The Old Man of the Mountain, The Great Stone Face, or The Profile, as well as the state motto “Live Free or Die.” The United States Mint produced a total of 1,169,016,000 of these quarters.
In general, uncirculated standard-clad New Hampshire quarters are valued at around $1 to $4, depending on their grade, while uncirculated variants tend to be worth about 25 cents. The proof version of this quarter is typically worth $4 to $15, and the silver proof version is usually valued at $12 to $20.
The New York 1788 Quarter
The New York quarter, the first state quarter minted in 2001, features an image of the iconic Statue of Liberty on the reverse side. With a total mintage of 1,275,040,000, the New York quarter is one of the more commonly found state quarters.
On average, uncirculated specimens of the standard clad New York quarter can sell for between $1 and $4, depending on its grade level. Circulated pieces are typically only worth their face value of 25 cents. Proof variants of the New York quarter retail for between $8 and $15, while the silver proof version is generally valued between $12 and $20.
The Virginia 1788 Quarter
The United States Mint produced a large number of these quarters, with a total mintage of 1,594,616,000. The standard clad version of the Virginia 1788 Quarter in the uncirculated condition is typically worth between $1 and $4, depending on its grade, while uncirculated variants are valued at 25 cents. Proof versions of the coin can be worth between $4 and $15, and silver-proof versions may sell for $12 to $20.
Features of the 1788 Quarter
Here are the features of the 1788 quarter:
- The obverse of the 1788 quarter features a portrait of George Washington surrounded by text including “United States of America”, “Quarter Dollar”, “Liberty”, and the motto “In God We Trust”.
- The reverse of the 1788 quarter includes the name of the state and the year it ratified the Constitution or joined the Union, as well as the year the coin was minted and the motto “E Pluribus Unum”.
- The designs on the reverse of the 1788 quarter vary for each state, including natural elements, state landmarks, and historic moments.
- The 1788 quarter was made in two different finishes: base metal for circulation and proof coins for collectors. The proof coins were made in base metal individually and as part of a set including a dime, quarter, and half dollar.
The 1788 quarter is a rare and valuable coin with a rich history. Its value depends on its condition, rarity, and demand, with base metal quarters worth their face value of 25 cents, base metal proof coins ranging in value from $5 to $60, and silver proof coins ranging in value from $5 to $90.
The finest examples of the 1788 quarter, graded MS 68 by coin grading services, can sell for over $1,000 at auction. These coins are highly sought after by collectors and are a valuable addition to any coin collection.