1965 Quarter Value: Error Coins and History

1965 Quarter Value: Error Coins and History

Steven Cochran
Published: April 28, 2022
Updated: May 16, 2022
Table Of Contents:

The 1965 Washington quarter was the first US quarter not made of 90% pure silver. This transition from silver “hard money” to copper coinage resulted in the rare and valuable 1965 silver quarter.

  View 1965 quarter prices at the bottom of this article

The 1960s Silver Crisis

Economic expansion caused skyrocketing silver prices in the early 1960s, causing a national coin shortage. People hoarded millions of dimes, quarters, and half dollars, which were made of solid 90% pure silver.

When the press reported rising silver prices, people hoarded more coins. When the press reported that there was a shortage of silver coins because people were hoarding them, they hoarded even more. The government would run out of silver by 1968 if the trend continued.

In 1965, the US Mint officially switched from 90% pure silver coins to ones made from copper-nickel alloy. The new coins had a 75% copper/25% nickel cladding over a pure copper core, making the coin 8.33% nickel by volume.

1965 washington quarter

1965 Washington silver quarter. Image: USA CoinBook

Until they could source enough of the clad metal stock from the private sector, the Mint had to keep making 90% silver dimes and quarters. To prevent hoarding by coin speculators, the date on silver quarters was frozen at 1964 to avoid having rare 1965 or 1966 mintages.

The first clad quarters were struck in August 1965. They weren’t released into circulation until November 1965, so they kept the 1965 date until August 1, 1966, for the same reason.

Both silver and clad quarters were struck from 1965 through early 1966. Clad coin production had increased enough by then that supplemental silver coin production was no longer needed.

How to Tell If You Have a 1965 Silver Quarter: A Transitional Error

This is where the rare 1965 silver quarter enters the picture.

Coin blanks are held in giant hoppers before they are fed to the coin presses. Apparently, there were some silver coin blanks lodged in the hopper after the switch to clad quarters. Some time before July 1966, these blanks eventually worked loose and were made into 1965 quarters.

Most 1965 silver quarters circulated for quite a while before they were noticed. The only difference in appearance from a clad 1965 quarter is the absence of a copper-colored edge.

check for silver coins

Check for silver coins in your loose change by examining the edge of the coins.

As an indication of how easily these coins slipped into commerce, only two uncirculated 1965 silver quarters have been offered for sale by Heritage Auctions in the last ten years. The most recent of these, graded Mint State MS62 PCGS, sold for $16,800 in December 2020.

1965 Washington Quarter Price Chart

If your 1965 quarter is not an error coin, it may still be valuable if it is in Mint State condition. The chart below breaks down the values in each Mint State grade, ranging from MS60 to MS68.

Grade
Price (USD)
MS60$1
MS61$2.50
MS62$3.50
MS63$5
MS64$7.50
MS65$10
MS66$35
MS67$395
MS67+$975
MS68$5,250

Prices derived from NGC Coin Explorer, PCGS Coin Facts, and USA CoinBook.

Other 1965 Quarters Worth Money

There are other 1965 quarter error coins that are worth money. One notable error is a 1965 quarter struck on a silver DIME blank. Although very rare, it happened more than once. A Mint State example can sell for more than $7,000.

A normal clad 1965 quarter can also be worth money, but only in the highest Mint State grades. This is because the coin shortage was so acute, and the new clad quarters so unpopular among collectors at the time, that practically none were saved before they went into circulation.

If you are lucky enough to find a pristine uncirculated 1965 clad quarter, handle it very carefully and get it graded by a third-party coin grading service.

  • The finest known 1965 clad quarter, graded MS68, sold for more than $1,300 in July 2020.
  • An MS67+ example sold for $660 in July 2019.
  • An MS67 clad 1965 quarter sold for $288 in March 2022.

Doubled Die Obverse and Doubled Die Reverse 1965 quarters can sell for hundreds of dollars. Recent auctions include an Almost Uncirculated AU58 and a Mint State MS65, which sold for $360 and $720 respectively in March 2018.


Read more about collecting coins and coin prices from the Gainesville Coins blog:

Top 20 Rare Coins Wanted By Collectors

2009 Lincoln Penny Value: Bicentennial Cents

How to Sell Your Coin Collection

Key Date Morgan Dollars: Collecting Tips & Prices

Coin Collecting for Kids: A Beginner's Guide

American Gold Eagle Values: How Much Are They Worth?

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Lupillo | 7/22/2022
I have here I think a silver 1965 25c coin I can tell by the color difference i asi have older silver coins do you know where can i get a cash for this coins? 2145833921
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Steven Cochran

Steven Cochran

Precious Metals Market Analyst | BS University of South Florida (2002)

A published writer, Steven's coverage of precious metals goes beyond the daily news to explain how ancillary factors affect the market.

Steven specializes in market analysis with an emphasis on stocks, corporate bonds, and government debt.

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