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Will 1955-D ever reach potential?

Sometimes you get a feeling that a coin should be much better than its current price would suggest.

Sometimes you get a feeling that a coin should be much better than its current price would suggest. It is awfully easy to get that feeling for an 1955-D Washington quarter.


Of course, it is just a feeling and that is not proof, but the 1955-D seems to have a lot more potential than its $8.60 MS-60 pric or even its $24 MS-65 price would suggest.

For at least part of the reason why the 1955-D would seem to potentially be better than its price, we have to return to its year of manufacture. There was simply too much going on that year. San Francisco produced its last coins (until 1968, but no one at the time knew that).

The last two denominations produced at the “S” mint were the dime and the cent. It was a period San Francisco was famous for its low mintage cents. That made the 1955-S big news and it had the lowest “S” mintages in 15 years.

The 1955-S dime was also low mintage and it was joined by even lower mintages from Denver and Philadelphia. To have three of the four lowest mintage Roosevelts in the same year was exciting.

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But the biggest news was the 1955 doubled-die cent. It was an error that captured the imagination. It appeared to rival the 1909-S VDB in terms of potential value.
With all this going on, a number of better dates were overlooked. Every denomination had at least one lower than average mintage in 1955. Philadelphia struck just 18,558,381, but the 1955-D was just 3,182,400.

There might have been some saving, but a lot worked against it. There were just too many other options than the 1955-D quarter for collectors to focus on.

Besides, in 1955 there were not many who gave much thought to Washington quarters. They were current and available. The 1932-D and 1932-S were exceptions, but both were well below half a million pieces. The 1955-D wasn’t in that league.

Another factor has to be considered. A quarter was a lot of money to the young collectors of the time. For a nice roll of 1955-D quarters, you could get 20 rolls of 1955-S cents and almost everyone in that day would have opted for the near magical “S” cents.

Another factor worth considering is that in the late 1970s and early 1980s might have seen significant melting of the 1955-D quarters. Silver value was worth more than collector value. When silver hit $50, the bullion value of the quarter exceeded every collector price but the MS-65.

For all who believe that the 1955-D might have been overlooked, there is some good news. In fact, it has been overlooked and the situation is seen clearly in MS-65. Back in 1998, the 1955-D listed at $13 in MS-65. There was little demand and little attention paid to it, but today at $24, there is still not much reason to look at it. That means it is probably the time to do so. If you look, you can probably find a roll for little more than silver value even though it is presently listed at $280. Silver value is about $171 a roll.

Back in 1998 a roll was $65, but that was before the price of silver rose by more than five times.

Perhaps after nearly 60 years, the 1955-D will start to be shown the respect its mintage deserves.

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