1986 Quarter Coin Value: How Much Is It Worth?

1986 Quarter Value

The US Mint produced quarters from 1796 with occasional breaks, but the continuous minting started in 1831 and has lasted until today. These American coins contained silver until 1964, including Washington quarters made of this precious metal from 1932 to 1964.

Since that year, these coins have been made of cupronickel clad to copper, except for silver versions minted for collectors since 1976. Unlike precious silver specimens, the 1986 quarter value is pretty modest nowadays, but each of these coins is worth more than its face value.

1986 quarter value Chart

Condition 1986 P quarter 1986 D quarter 1986 S quarter
MS 65 $13 $20 /
PR 63 / / $4.52

1986 Washington Quarter Value Guides

In 1986, three mints produced 1,058,508,490 Washington quarters. All types came with the mint mark, including those minted in Philadelphia. Proofs intended for collectors were struck only in San Francisco, while the other two mints released coins from regular strikes into circulation.

1986 P quarter Value

1986 P Washington Quarter

The 1986 Washington quarter is a common coin worth only a face value when in circulated condition. Those in the mint state are typically worth less than a dollar, but you can count on $30 to $35 if you have a well-preserved piece.

The price is relatively modest because of an impressive mintage of 551,199,333 pieces with the P mint mark.

1986 Washington quarter value

Condition 1986 P quarter 1986 D quarter
Good $0.25 $0.25
Very good $0.25 $0.25
Fine $0.25 $0.25
Very fine $0.25 $0.25
Extra fine $0.25 $0.25
AU $0.25 $0.25
MS 60 $0.35 $0.35
MS 61 $0.35 $0.35
MS 62 $0.35 $0.35
MS 63 $0.50 $0.50
MS 64 $0.75 $0.75
MS 65 $1 $1
MS 66 $30 to $36 $18 to $21.60
MS 67 $1,300 to $1,560 $400 to $480

The most pricey are specimens in an MS 67 grade, and collectors often buy them for $1,300 to $1,550. Sometimes, this price can be even higher, as it was with one beautiful 1986 P MS 67 Washington quarter. After offering it at Heritage Auctions in 2019, one owner got $2,880 for it.

1986 D quarter Value

1986 D Washington Quarter

Any of the 504,298,660 Washington quarters minted in Denver in 1986 is worth at least a face value if it is in collectible condition. However, attractive coins in the highest grades often reach $20 to almost $500 at auctions.

For instance, one specimen with an MS 67 rating was sold for $900 on eBay in 2010 as the most pricey quarter with the D letter on the obverse.

1986 S quarter proof Value

1986 S Washington Proof Quarter

In 1986, the San Francisco mint produced only proof quarters, unlike the other two mints. The mintage was 3,010,497, affecting these coins’ prices on the current market.

1986 proof Washington quarter value

Condition 1986 S DCAM quarter
PR 67 $4
PR 68 $6
PR 69 $8
PR 70 $18

You can expect to get approximately $4 to $18 for coins with deep cameo contrast in the highest classes. However, one of these coins reached $552 at an auction in 2003. That made it the most expensive specimen with the S letter struck on the obverse.

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1986 Washington Quarter Errors

Even though there are some errors among Washington quarters, you can’t find coins minted in 1986 with significant and valuable imperfections. In most cases, it is about slight errors, like:

  • Doubled dies
  • Re-punched mint marks
  • Over-mintmarks
  • Planchet errors

You can spend time looking for these imperfect coins, but it is unlikely to find one worth significant money.

Key Dates

Like all other American coins, you can recognize a few key dates among quarters in the long series minted from 1932 to nowadays. The most valuable are:

  • 1932 S silver Washington quarter
  • 1932 D silver Washington quarter
  • 1950 S S over D silver Washington quarter with the re-punched mint mark
  • 1950 D D over S silver Washington quarter with the re-punched mint mark

Besides these precious coins, you can consider all quarters minted from 1932 to 1964 collectible, thanks to silver content. Even damaged coins and those in the worst condition are valuable because of the 90% precious metal they contain.

Those in the mint mark always bring a premium. They are an excellent investment and collectible items, meaning even people who are uninterested in numismatics collect them.

Uncommon 1986 Washington Quarters

1986 D Washington quarter

Even though it seems illogical, the 1986 D clad Washington quarter dollars can be collectible and valuable. Their mintage is only slightly lower than the Philadelphia-produced pieces, but the price of highly graded coins is often higher.

The reason was low uncirculated sets’ sales. Therefore, numerous rolls or bags with these quarters have never been saved. Coins in an MS 67 grade are rare and highly desirable among collectors nowadays.

1986 P Washington quarter

These coins are abundant on the current market, but pieces with an MS 67 rating are relatively scarce. They are typically worth about $1,300 to $1,560, but one precious specimen was sold for $2,880 at an auction. It is the most expensive quarter in the set, but you never know when you will come across a similar piece.

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History of the 1986 Washington Quarter

The Washington quarter design is among the longest-running American coins ever minted. The US Mint issued these coins in 1932 for the first time. The idea was to commemorate the first President’s 200th birth anniversary by producing a one-year design.

The minting stopped that year, and there are no coins with the 1933 date on the obverse. However, US lawmakers believed that Americans needed these coins, and the production has continued from 1934 to this day.

Quarters are the second regular-issue American coinage with a genuine person depicted on the obverse. The US Mint needed to wait 23 years for that to happen after issuing Lincoln pennies in 1909.

1986 Washington quarter

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia 1986 P quarter 551,199,333
Denver 1986 D quarter 504,298,660
San Francisco 1986 S quarter proof 3,010,497
Total / 1,058,508,490

The plan was to organize a competition for the new coin design to have an original and fresh look. The propositions included a George Washington sculpture made by Jean Antoine Houdon, while the reverse should have included recognizable state symbols.

Reputable sculptor John Flanagan was honored to design the new coin after beating the competition of 97 other designers sending their ideas. You can see ‘JF,’ his initials, on each piece struck on the President’s neck base.

Like other American coins from that period, the first Washington quarters contained 90% fine silver, but it was changed in 1964. Since no one could stop silver prices from rising, the US Mint was forced to change the coins’ composition.

Since the prices of this precious metal were exceptionally high in the late 1970s and early 80s, the US Mint melted a high quantity of silver coins. Therefore, no one can say how many silver quarters are there nowadays, making them historically significant and collectible.

The Motto variations

Despite the same design, not all quarters minted from the beginning had the same look. You can recognize a few quarter versions with different Motto look. This inscription came in three versions among coins minted in 1932, 1934, and 1935, including:

  • Light Motto IN GOD WE TRUST
  • Medium Motto IN GOD WE TRUST
  • Heavy Motto IN GOD WE TRUST

In 1932, the US mint produced coins with the Light Motto, but 1934 was unique. The Philadelphia mint minted all three types this year, while the mint in Denver struck only two versions, coins with the Heavy Motto and Medium Motto.

In 1935, all three mints concentrated on the Medium Motto coin version, but they switched to Heavy Motto in 1936. Since then, all quarters have had this motto type until these days.

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How to Identify 1986 Washington Quarter?

Unlike the first Washington quarters containing silver, those struck in 1986 were clad coins made of copper-nickel. The reasons were both politics and the price of silver.

Since the US Mint produced millions of silver coins, the silver reserves ran out relatively quickly. Therefore, the solution was to exclude this precious metal from production, and the cupronickel alloy introduction started a new coinage era.

The obverse of the 1986 Washington quarter

1986 Washington Quarter Obverse

The 1986 Washington quarter obverse includes a portrait of George Washington, the first American President. John Flanagan imagined his profile facing left, with the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST in front of his face.

The word LIBERTY and DATE are struck along the quarter rim, surrounding the central image from above and below. Since all coins minted this year have the mint mark, you can find one of those letters (P, S, or D) right of Washington’s hair ribbon.

The reverse of the 1986 Washington quarter

1986 Washington Quarter Reverse

The 1986 Washington quarter reverse is a bit complicated, with a bald eagle ready to fly in the center. Above its fully extended wings are inscriptions E PLURIBUS UNUM and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA above it, placed along the rim.

The eagle clutching arrows with its claws is struck above the two olive branches. If you know the meaning of the symbols, it is clear to you that these two are opposites and signify the war efforts and the pursuit of peace.

The bottom rim is reserved for the denomination. You can see the words QUARTER DOLLAR written in capital letters below the branches.

1986 Washington quarter

Face value 25 cents ($0.25)
Shape Round
Compound 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel (an outer layer made of copper-nickel alloy over a pure copper core)
Coin thickness 1.75 mm (0.06889 inches)
Coin diameter 24.3 mm (0.95669 inches)
Coin weight 5.67 g (0.20000 ounces)
Edge Reeded

Other features of the 1986 Washington quarter

The 1986 Washington quarter weighing 5.67 g (0.20000 ounces) is thick 1.75 mm (0.06889 inches) and has a diameter of 24.3 mm (0.95669 inches). It has an outer layer made of copper-nickel alloy and a core of pure copper, so the proportion of copper in its composition is high, 91.67%.

The US Mint started producing this Washington quarter type in 1965. Clad coins are not a mystery but regular pieces made of a copper core coated with a thin layer of copper-nickel alloy. As a result, you can see a sandwich-look edge with two nickel-colored outer layers and a copper band between them.

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What makes 1986 Washington quarters rare?

The 1986 Washington quarters are not rare coins so you can find those in perfect condition for relatively low prices. Unfortunately, there are also no particularly valuable errors among these pieces, so you shouldn’t expect a profit from them.

Which 1986 Washington quarter is most valuable?

  • 1986 P MS 67 Washington quarter was offered at Heritage Auctions and sold for precisely $2,880 in 2019
  • 1986 D MS 67 Washington quarter was offered on eBay and sold for precisely $900 in 2010
  • 1986 S PR 70 DCAM Washington quarter was offered at Heritage Auctions and sold for precisely $552 in 2003
  • 1986 S PR 69 Treasure Hunt Feb LB 2016, DCAM Washington quarter was offered on eBay and sold for precisely $18 in 2018

How much are 1986 P Washington quarters worth?

The 1986 Washington quarters with the P mint mark are affordable coins. Their average price is less than a dollar for circulated pieces, while you can buy well-preserved specimens for $30 to $35.

What are the most pricey Washington quarters?

The Washington quarter, 1932 D MS 66, is undoubtedly the most costly coin in the series. One collector purchased this beautiful specimen for $143,750 in 2008 (at Bowers & Merena auction). Some other quarters minted with Washington on the obverse were also sold for high sums, including:

  • Washington quarter, 1932 D MS 66 ($143,750 at Bowers & Merena in 2008)
  • Washington quarter, 1932 S MS 66 ($45,500 at David Lawrence RC in 2020)
  • Washington quarter, 1949 D MS 68 ($43,475 at Legend RC Auctions in 2019)
  • Washington quarter, 1932 MS 67 ($40,250 at Heritage Auctions in 2012)

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