|Face Value:||Twenty-five cents|
|Minted:||1932- to date|
|Precious Metal Content:||1932-1964: .900 silver, .100 copper
1965 to date: .750 copper, .250 nickel bonded to a pure copper core
The Washington quarter was introduced in 1932 to honor George Washington’s birth bicentennial. Originally the idea was to place his portrait on the half dollar but Congress decided to use it on the quarter instead. The Treasury and the Washington Bicentennial Commission, aided by the Commission of Fine Arts, held a competition for the new design. The contest specified that the portrait must be based on Washington’s bust by Houdon that was residing at Mount Vernon.
Laura Fraser, a well-known and highly acclaimed sculptor and designer of the Oregon Trail silver commemorative, won the competition. However, the Treasury Secretary, Andrew W. Mellon, refused to accept the commissions’ decision and ordered a new competition. Again Laura Fraser was chosen, but Secretary Mellon again refused to accept her design. It was later learned that Mellon knew who had submitted the winning entry, and due to his male chauvinism, he simply would not allow a woman to be chosen. He picked his favorite, the Flanagan design. Flanagan’s design proved to be inferior, and over the next 12 years the coin underwent about 10 changes to arrive at an acceptable result. Washington quarters lend themselves to set builders because there are no truly rare dates. The scarcest are the first year of issue from the Denver and San Francisco Mints, but even in high grades these coins are very affordable.