10 Rare Quarters to Look for in Your Coin Jar

Ever wonder if that coin jar laying around your house has any value? Or are you new to coin collecting? Here is a list of ten rare quarters you want to be on the lookout for that either hold some historical significance or are worth more than face value.

  1. 2004 Wisconsin state quarter with extra leaf


The 50 State Quarters series ran from 1999 until 2008, with special designs representing each state. Wisconsin’s quarter came out in 2004; the reverse design features a cow, a wheel of cheese and a partially husked ear of corn. Some the coins have an extra line below the front left leaf, which looks like another leaf entirely. There are two varieties you should be looking out for: the high leaf and low leaf


  1. 2005 Kansas state quarter, ‘In God We Rust’


On the obverse of this quarter you will see what appears to be saying ‘Rust’ instead of ‘trust’. While it might seem like a mint employee’s rogue political statement, these coins are actually just the result of grease preventing a clean pressing.


  1. State quarters on nickel planchets


These coins can show up in any year, but seem to be more common in the first year Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia coins. Accidentally struck on Nickel planchets, these coins are slightly smaller than a regular quarter. Error coin diameter size = 21.2mm. Regular quarter size = 24.3mm.


  1. 2006 Colorado cud errors

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Cud errors, a damaged area resembling a blob on the surface of a coin, are found on the reverse side of the quarter. These quarters were released by the Philadelphia mint.


  1. 2007 Wyoming doubled die reverse


This lesser-known error was minted in Philadelphia and sometimes can be hard to spot with the naked eye. With magnification, varied doubling around the saddle horn can be seen.


  1. 2009 District of Columbia doubled die reverse


Some quarters minted in Denver exhibit doubling on the “ELL” in “ELLINGTON.


  1. Early silver Washington quarters


The earlier coins, minted 1932 through 1940 are valued higher as a collectible in circulated condition. Two specific coins you might hope to find are the 1932-D, in heavily worn condition it is worth $39. The other is the 1932-S, a $48 coin in “Good” condition.


  1. One side of a quarter has a copper color


Every clad coin, which includes State Quarters, is comprised of three layers of metal. Both outer layers are made of an alloy consisting of 75 percent copper, 25 percent nickel. It is this alloy that gives clad coinage the silver-like appearance. The center layer consists of pure copper.

Occasionally, one or both of the outer layers separate from the copper core because of a failed bond between layers. When one of the outer layers peels off, the copper core is exposed, and it is this copper core that is struck by the die.


  1. 2001 double struck quarter


The coin design of George Washington’s head was struck not once, but twice on this quarter. The result is a double design with two “United States of America” letterings and two partial Washington heads. The reverse side has two castings of the Statue of Liberty and outline of the state of New York.


  1. Uncirculated State Quarters


In the early 2000’s, many people were hoarding uncirculated $10 rolls of state quarters. As mentioned earlier, these quarters rolled out between 1999-2008. Once the economy worsened in 2008, many people began giving up their hoards. This increased demand for uncirculated rolls of state quarters. For certain in-demand states, you can get up to $50 per roll. Look for rolls from Georgia, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Illinois.

Think you might have one or more of these coins but are unsure? Or you have a different interesting coin that isn’t listed? Download the Lookzee app on Google Play or iOS App Store and share your coin with the Lookzee forums. The forum is a great place to connect with coin collectors and learn more about coins!

Why were the State Quarters wildly successful?


The State Quarter series is easily the most successful numismatic program of all time. It generated over $3.8 billion in seigniorage for the government, and nearly half of all Americans collected the coins to some extent. Over 30 billion of the coins were minted, more than double quarter production in previous decades. However, other coin series aimed at the general public have not had the same success. After initial interest, the public largely stopped using or collecting the Sacajawea dollars, as well as the earlier Susan B. Anthony dollars (1979-1981) and Bicentennial series.


So what made the State Quarters stick around? These quarters differed from other collectible series in five key areas:


1024px-2003_AL_Proof.pngThose interested in the coins didn’t have to go to coin shops or dealers to get the coins. They could find them in their change at any store, often at a local bank or retail outlet. It wasn’t uncommon for people to ask retail clerks if they could get the new quarters in their change. Even people who had no intention of collecting the coins as a series often tended to hang on to the new designs when they found them.


2002_MS_ProofEach coin could be acquired for face value, making the state quarters one of the most affordable collectible coin sets in modern history. Anyone could collect a whole set for under $15. It was perfect for kids and casual collectors, and many Americans with no interest in numismatics not only collected all 50 designs, but bought special holders to display their collections.



2002_OH_Proof.pngWith five new designs released every year for a decade, there was always a new design to get excited about. Every handful of change became an adventure: is this a new quarter? Do I already have this one? The designs were unlike any of the designs on currently circulating coins, and the idea that each state had a chance to present a design to represent its culture and history was endlessly fascinating. Why did Ohio’s coin have an astronaut on it? Why did West Virginia feel that the New River Gorge bridge was the best imagery for their state?

Personal meaning

800px-2008_HI_Proof.pngPeople love stuff that’s about them. During the State Quarters run, everyone wanted a quarter with their own state design on it. Those living in states that had joined the country more recently waited patiently for years to get their state’s coins. Some states held design contests for their quarters. This was no grand, classic, federal coin: these coins were personal.


Connecticut_quarter,_reverse_side,_1999Many of the coins feature images from national and state folklore. The Charter Oak on the Connecticut quarter is said to have been used as a hiding place for the Royal Charter, when the governor-general tried to revoke it. Local tradition also holds that the tree was first planted by English settlers and Native Americans as a symbol of peace between the two peoples.



Fun and Social

800px-2006_nv_proof (1)Never underestimate the simple value of fun. It was fun to poke through change to see if there was a new design. It was fun to compare coins with friends and coworkers, to examine each new design, try to figure out what it was and why it was chosen. It was fun to discuss what sort of design you would have created to represent your state. It was a starting point for many conversations, at offices, businesses, and schools. These coins brought people together in a way most large coin series haven’t. People wanted to talk about them, to show them off, to share and trade them with each other.
While other coin series have been carefully planned and designed, any series that doesn’t take into account the human factor is doomed to be relegated only to collectors and historians.


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