Let me guess, you’re holding a coin in your hand and wondering about the 1990 quarter value? One of the most common questions I get asked is, “how much is my quarter worth?”
Most 1990 quarters found in circulation are worth 25 cents. But I always answer the question the same way, as you can imagine. “It depends.” The good news is – I can help you in your journey to discover the value of your 1990 quarter. Let’s go!
1990 Quarter Value
Let’s look at the highest auction sales for the 1990 quarter, just to give you an idea of the potential value.
- 1990-P Quarter, MS67 $1,625
- 1990-D Quarter, MS67 $1,440
- 1990-S Quarter, Proof, PR70 $80
Now that we have the auction record values for the 1990 quarters from each U.S. Mint, we can begin to figure out the value of your coin. So, is a 1990 quarter worth anything, or not? Let’s find out!
At this point, I would say the value of your 1990 quarter is somewhere between face value of $0.25, and the record auction price of $1,625.
But there’s so much more to understand if you really want to find the worth of your 1990 quarter.
Valuable 1990 Quarters
There were over 1.5 billion quarters minted for circulation in 1990. That number combines quarters struck at the Philadelphia Mint and the Denver Mint. An additional 3.2 million quarters were struck at the San Francisco Mint as Proof coins.
While it’s likely your quarter is only worth face value, which is 25 cents, there always a chance it’s worth a whole lot more. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
1990-D Quarter Value
The Denver produced quarters from 1990 are designated with a small “D” near the right side of Washington’s neck.
With 927 million 1990 quarters struck at the Denver Mint, the coins are not necessarily rare. Other than the 1995 quarters, when over one billion were struck at each U.S. Mint, the 1990 Denver mintage was one of the highest Washington quarter production runs ever.
Amazingly, only a few dozen examples of the 1990-D Washington quarter have received a grade of MS67. And one example graded at MS67+, and two quarters graded at MS68.
1990-P Quarter Value
Minted at the Philadelphia Mint, 1990-P Washington quarter varieties display the “P” mintmark to the lower right side of Washington’s neck.
613 million quarters were produced in Philadelphia for the 1990 series, and the coins were heavily circulated. Only 15 coins have a MS67 grade, and none graded higher.
1990-S Quarter Value
The San Francisco Mint produced over 3 million Proof Strike quarters in 1990. So how can you tell the difference between a circulation quarter and a Proof Strike? Well, knowing which U.S. Mint produced Proof coins is the first sign.
The second sign is the finish and shine of the quarter. A Proof Strike coin is struck twice rather than once, like a circulation coin. It will look shinier, and the designs on the coin with appear cleaner, with a mirror-like finish.
What Determines the Value of a 1990 Quarter?
I can tell you right now, any coin in poor condition will not be worth as much as a perfectly preserved coin.
The condition of your quarter is probably the most important factor determining it’s value. As you can see from the value charts above, the difference between an MS67 graded quarter and a coin with just an MS66 grade can be a thousand dollars or more.
Of course, Proof Strike quarters will appear to be in better condition than circulated coins. But the fact that they are “Proofs” is the reason why the coins remain in great condition. They are not in circulation, so there is no rarity in finding a Proof coin in excellent condition.
2. Mint Mark
For almost all coins, the Mint Mark is a major factor in determining it’s value. Knowing where the quarter was minted will tell collectors how many coins were produced.
A coin with low mintage numbers will have greater value than a coin struck at a mint with huge production numbers. The mint mark relates to it’s rarity.
3. Rare 1990 Quarters
So if the Mintmark tells us how rare a coin is, what other factors contribute to a coin’s rarity? The condition, and the year of production also contribute to the rarity of a quarter.
Not only that, but an error during production can add value and worth to a coin.
Dealers and coin collectors will bid-up rare coins at auctions knowing it might be a long time before a similar coin is offered on the market. Rarity has the power to drive huge price gains. Especially rare coins in mint condition.
4. The Overall Coin Market
Another factor contributing to a coins gain or loss of value is overall demand in the collector coin market.
If the overall economy is surging ahead, coin collectors have more money available to bid-up the price of coins on the market. And the reverse is true, in general, when economic conditions turn down.
1990 Washington Quarter History
To celebrate the bicentennial birth of George Washington, the U.S. Congress designed the Washington Quarter in 1932. Original plans were to only commemorate Washington for one year by replacing the Walking Liberty half dollar.
But instead, they designed a replacement for the Standing Liberty quarter, and the Washington quarter has been struck ever since that date.
1990 Quarter Value – Features and Design
After Laura Gardin Fraser submitted a design for the new quarter to the Commission of Fine Arts, the design was not chosen. Instead, a design by sculptor John Flanagan was agreed on by Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon.
On August 1st, 1032, the very first Flanagan designed Washington quarters were circulated.
The famous coin features several inscriptions on the obverse and reverse sides of the coin.
- “IN GOD WE TRUST”
- “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”
- “E PLURIBUS UNUM” Meaning “Out of many, one”
- “QUARTER DOLLAR”
John Flanagan used a popular bust of George Washington to create the obverse design of the quarter. What still remains on the coin in 1990 is from the original 1932 quarter, and that design was based on a bust by Jean-Antonine Houdon, a French sculptor.
Flanagan made slight changes to the details of Houdon’s Washington bust. The designer added a roll of hair and slightly altered the shape of Washington’s head.
On the reverse of the quarter is an image of an eagle with outstretched wings, clutching a bundle of arrows. Below the arrows are two olive branches.
Flanagan’s reverse eagle design remained on the Washington quarter until 1998.
The very first 1932 Washington quarters were composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. The first reeded edge quarters weighted 6.3 grams and were struck at the Denver, Philadelphia, or San Francisco Mint.
The silver composition stayed with the Washington quarter through 1964. Then, in 1965, the composition of the Washington quarter changed to a copper-nickel clad coin. The new 75% copper and 25% nickel quarter weighed 5.7 grams, less than the silver quarter.
With a diameter of 24.3 millimeters, 1990 quarters have also remained 75% copper and 25% nickel since 1965.
1990 Quarter Rare Errors
Searching for rare error coins can be lots of fun. Identifying the right error coin can also provide value to your coin collection.
With large circulation coins like the Washington quarter, knowing what to look for is key when searching for 1990 quarter errors.
Doubled Die Error
Coins minted for circulation are struck one time. But rare coins that have been struck twice are called double die errors.
Many times, the second strike will be noticeably off-center, creating a rare error coin. 1990 quarter value of a rare doubled die error can be hundreds of dollars.
Off-Center Strike Error
The off-center strike error can make for a great addition to any coin collection. Find one in fine condition and you might have yourself a valuable rare item.
Off-center strikes are made when the U.S. Mint planchet strikes the coin at an abnormal angle, creating a coin that looks out of place among it’s circulated twins. Some off-center strike error coins are worth hundreds of dollars.
Smooth Edge Error
A smooth edge error quarter is missing the reeded edge common on all Washington quarters since 1932.
And this isn’t just a 1990 quarter with extra wear, it’s actually coined at the mints without a reeded edge from day one.
Don’t mistake a smooth edge error coin from a quarter that’s simply been filed down. Scammers and con-artists have been known to file off the reeded edge in attempts to pass off a common quarter as a rare smooth edge error coin.
There’s More to Learn About the 1990 Quarter!
So Far, We’ve Learned –
- A well-circulated 1990 Washington quarter is worth just about face value, 25 cents.
- Over 1.5 billion quarters were minted for circulation in 1990.
- The most valuable 1990 quarter to sell at auction was an MS67 graded coin from the Philadelphia Mint, which sold for $1,625.
- 3 million proof strike coins were minted in 1990. You can easily tell a proof quarter from a circulation quarter by the deep shine and mirror like polish. Sometimes proof strike coins can make a great investment because of their mint state condition.
And More Little-Known Facts About 1990 Quarter Value –
- Coin experts estimate a circulated 1990 quarter to be worth between $0.30 and $0.90. But even with hundreds of millions in circulation, the 1990 quarter can still be worth hundreds of dollars in excellent graded condition.
- Some coins have a melt value higher than the face value, but not the 1990 Washington quarter. The copper-nickel clad composition makes the melt value only about 6 cents.
- Washington quarter designer John Flanagan was assistant to renowned coin designer Augustus St. Gaudens. Flanagan later sculpted a bronze bust of St. Gaudens in 1924 which now sits at the National Gallery of Art at NYU, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- If you look very carefully, you can see designer John F. Flanagan’s initials at the base of George Washington’s neck on the front of the 1990 quarter. You might need a magnifying glass, but it’s there!
- President George Washington was against presidents on the face of US coinage. He argued it was similar to British coins honoring kings and queens, a tradition the new American colonies were trying to avoid.
- When the US Mint stamped “25c” on the quarter in 1894, it was the very first time the denomination was shown on the face of the coin.
- For coin collectors and investors who want to amp-up their collection, you can buy a 1990 US Mint Proof Set for just $12.00 on Amazon or eBay. Proof sets include a penny, nickel, dime, half-dollar, and of course, the Washington quarter. A great addition to your collection!
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