US Coins

Market Analysis: Selling a 'Superbird' 1952 Washington quarter

“Superbird” is a wonderful nickname for a variety of the Proof 1952 Washington quarter dollar where there’s a clear S shape on the eagle’s chest on the reverse. Listed as FS-901 in Cherrypickers’, it’s not an errant San Francisco “S” Mint mark, but rather a curving S-shaped die line.

Heritage writes, “Although it is not listed in the Guide Book [of United States Coins], the 1952 FS-901 proof quarter is well-known and highly sought-after among series specialists.” The one in the auction, graded Proof 67 Deep Cameo, sold for $7,800.

Professional Coin Grading Service speculated in a 2013 article, “In the 1950s, the Superman TV show was so extremely popular that some experts believe that a Mint employee intentionally added the ‘S’ mint mark on the eagle’s chest as a way of supporting the Superman show.”

Of course, whether it is a happy coincidence or the result of something more deliberate will likely remain unknown. However, the resulting variety with the cool name remains discoverable, unattributed, in dealer inventories for sharp-eyed and patient collectors.

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