By the mid 1950s, the coin collecting market was white hot, and collectors were busily collecting modern-strike coins in roll and even bag quantities. It didn’t tamp down the flames at all that the San Francisco mint had stopped minting business-strike quarters the previous year, causing collectors to frantically track down rolls of 1954-S quarters. With just two mints making business-strike quarters in 1955, and mintages down for the year across the board for the Washington series, collectors were excited to get their hands on quarters, with hopes for big investment returns down the line.
Here’s a breakdown of mintages and values for 1955 Washington quarters:
1955, 18,180,181 minted; $7
1955 proof, 378,200; $30
1955-D, 3,182,400; $9
*Values are for coins in Extremely Fine-40 grade, unless otherwise noted.
The relatively low price for the 1955-D quarter, which is decidedly a small-mintage coin, tells much of the story about how much collecting activity was happening in the mid 1950s. A piece with a similar mintage from, say, the 1920s or 1930s, would probably be worth multiples more than the 1955-D quarter is today. But, coin collectors of the era were aware of how scarce Denver-mint quarters were in 1955, and they saved examples in mint condition but the hundreds of thousands, leaving plenty available for coin collectors today.