US Coins

When a Washington quarter is struck through cloth

Among the more unusual consignments at Heritage’s auctions held before and during the 2017 Florida United Numismatists convention in Fort Lauderdale was the Blue Angel Collection of error 1976 Bicentennial Washington quarter dollars, Kennedy half dollars and Bicentennial dollars.

These were struck in 1975 and 1976 and each carries the dual-date of 1776-1976. The distinct reverse designs make them popular as type coins and the collection’s three dozen error coins represent a variety of examples of how things can go wrong in the minting process. 

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Here is one of three we profile in this Market Analysis series:

The Lot:

1976 Washington quarter dollar, obverse struck through cloth, MS-66

The Price:


The Story:

While the Blue Angel Collection of Bicentennial Errors contained several very expensive pieces — including a 1976-D Kennedy half dollar with a deep die cap and brockage that realized $5,170 — there were many more accessible, but still dramatic errors.

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A 1976 Washington quarter dollar struck through cloth on the obverse, graded MS-66 by NGC, realized $881.25. 

Washington quarter

Washington quarter: The Washington quarter dollar, which has been circulating since 1932, was born out of the Treasury Department's desire to produce a coin to mark the bicentennial of the birth of the first president of the United States. How much are Washington quarters worth?

The struck-through error type occurs when something comes between a die and a planchet during the striking process. In this case a polishing cloth was the likely culprit, but sometimes the intruder is wire or even wood. While struck through errors can be common when the intrusion is minor, this one was severe, with the cloth veiling more than half of the obverse, resulting in a textured, ghostly impression of Washington’s head.

More Bicentennial Error Coin Analysis:

Bicentennial Kennedy half dollar errorWhat a double-struck Kennedy half dollar with an obliterated bottom half sold for: Error coins with off-center multiple strikes are popular because they’re impressive and easy to understand.

Bicentennial Eisenhower dollar errorThis recently sold 1976 Eisenhower dollar error is weird but desirable: This is what happens when a planchet intended for a Washington quarter dollar gets mixed in with Eisenhower copper-nickel dollar planchets.

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