The Bicentennial Quarter holds a special place in numismatic history, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the United States. Issued in 1976, this coin is part of a series of special coins minted to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial year. Let’s delve into the history of the Bicentennial Quarter:
Background: In the early 1970s, the United States was gearing up for its bicentennial celebration in 1976. To mark this significant milestone in American history, the U.S. Mint decided to redesign the quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins.
Design Process: The Bicentennial Quarter’s design was the result of a public competition. The winning design, created by Jack L. Ahr, was chosen to represent the essence of the bicentennial celebration. The front (obverse) of the coin features the familiar profile of George Washington, the first President of the United States. However, it is the reverse side that makes the Bicentennial Quarter truly distinctive.
Distinctive Reverse Design: The reverse (tails) side of the Bicentennial Quarter showcases a powerful image of a colonial drummer and a victory torch encircled by 13 stars, symbolizing the original 13 colonies. The design captures the spirit of the American Revolution and the birth of the nation.
Minting and Circulation: The Bicentennial Quarter was officially released into circulation on July 4, 1975, and became a widely circulated coin throughout 1976. Millions of these quarters were minted at various U.S. Mint facilities, and they quickly became a popular collectible among both coin enthusiasts and the general public.
Legacy and Collectibility: While the Bicentennial Quarter holds face value as currency, its unique design and historical significance have made it a sought-after item for coin collectors. Many collectors value the Bicentennial Quarter not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its representation of a crucial period in American history.
Over the years, the Bicentennial has become a symbol of national pride and a reminder of the country’s rich history. Whether found in loose change or carefully preserved in a coin collection, the Bicentennial Quarter continues to be a cherished piece of numismatic history, embodying the spirit of the United States’ bicentennial celebration.
Produced between 1975 and 1976 as a special edition, these bicentennial quarters were noteworthy for featuring a unique reverse design, breaking a tradition of over 50 years. The Chronicle Collectibles website reports that the most valuable among these coins, a 1976-S Bicentennial Silver Quarter with an exceptionally high grade, fetched $19,200 at auction a few years ago. However, it’s not the only bicentennial quarter commanding a substantial price; several others have achieved similar status.
The condition of the coin is a crucial factor influencing its value, with those in impeccable condition fetching the highest prices. Minted at three different locations with varying mintages—Philadelphia (809,784,016 coins), Denver (860,118,839 coins), and San Francisco (11,000,000 uncirculated 40% silver coins, 7,059,099 proof clad coins, and 4 million proof 40% silver coins).
Several bicentennial quarters have been known to sell for over $1,000, as per the CoinValueChecker website:
- 1976-S Silver Proof Bicentennial : Sold for $13,500 in 2019.
- Double Denomination 1976 Bicentennial Quarter Struck on a Dime: Sold for $9,200 in 2020.
- 1976-D Clad DDO Bicentennial Business Strike: Sold for $8,400 in 2023.
- 1976-D Clad Bicentennial Quarter Regular Strike: Sold for $6,463 in 2017.
- 1976-S Clad Proof : Sold for $6,038 in 2010.
- 1976-S Silver Proof Deep Cameo : Sold for $2,760 in 2007.
- 1976 Clad Regular Strike: Sold for $1,821 in 2023.