1964 was the last year that 90 percent silver Washington quarters would be made for circulation. This was due to the rising price of silver, with a value that exceeded face value of the coins that it was in. With fervor growing over the coming end of the silver Washington quarters, coin collectors and bullion hoarders alike were hanging onto millions of these coins. The United States Mint responded by pushing out a total of well over 1 billion Washington quarters bearing a 1964 date.
Here’s a glance at how the mintages were spread across the Philadelphia and Denver mints, along with respective values:
1964, 560,390,585 minted; $7
1964 proof, 3,950,762; $11
1964-D, 704,135,528; $7
*Values are for coins in a grade of Extremely Fine-40, unless otherwise noted.
Beginning in 1965, the United States Mint would begin making quarters from a 75 percent copper, 25 percent nickel composition. It would also cease placing mintmarks on coins in an attempt to discourage collecting. Further punishing coin collectors for the coin shortage, which was caused by silver hoarders, not numismatists, the Mint would not offer proof sets from 1965 thorough 1967, instead offering special mint sets, which mainly coins of lesser quality than proof coinage. Regular proof sets – and mintmarks – resumed in 1968.
After 1964, silver quarters would not be struck again until 1975, when 40 percent silver proof and uncirculated Bicentennial quarters were offered to coin collectors in special sets. 90 percent silver quarters wouldn’t resurface until 1992, upon the launch of the annual silver proof set offering.