Why are US quarters from 1964 made of compared to current quarters?
October 22, 2004 11:35 AM   Subscribe

A friend at work gave me a 1964 quarter - I noticed it is slightly lighter, thicker and makes a different noise when struck than a 2004 quarter. What are quarters made ouf of today, and what were they made out of in 1964?
posted by luriete to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Wikipedia's US Quarter Dollar
Washington (regular, silver) 1932-1964
The current clad version is cupro-nickel (8.33% Ni and the balance Cu), weighs 5.670 g, diameter 24.26 mm, width 1.75 mm with a reeded edge. It costs 4.29 cents to produce each coin. Before 1965, quarters contained 90% silver, 10% copper, although very early quarters through 1828 were slightly larger and thinner.
posted by geoff. at 11:41 AM on October 22, 2004

plus, there's an interesting story about why so many quarters are 1964 quarters, as opposed to, say, 1965, or 1966.
In 1964, however, a coin shortage caused speculation in rolls and bags of 1964 coins. To prevent such speculation, Congress passed legislation declaring that the United States Mint could still use the 1964 date on coinage after the 1964 calendar year. So in 1965, all denominations of United States coins continued to be struck with the 1964 date.

In 1965, Congress mandated that the Mint continue to use the 1964 date on all 90 percent silver coins. However, because clad coins (which were not 90 percent silver) were not as likely to spark speculation, they would be dated no earlier than 1965.

This meant that all of the 90 percent silver coins (half-dollar, quarter-dollar, and 10-cent coins) that the Mint manufactured in 1964, 1965, and 1966 bore the date 1964. (The last of the 90 percent silver quarter-dollar coins was struck in January 1966, the last of the 10-cent coins in February 1966, and the last of the half-dollar coins in April 1966.)
posted by jessamyn at 11:45 AM on October 22, 2004

thanks geoff and jessamyn and wiki!
posted by luriete at 12:10 PM on October 22, 2004

wow, thanks jessamyn. I knew that 1964 quarters were silver, but I never knew why you see so many of them!
posted by vorfeed at 12:28 PM on October 22, 2004

I've been on the lookout for 1964 quarters ever since I learned they were silver about 15 years ago -- I've gotten plenty of 1965s, but I've never seen a 1964.
posted by o2b at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2004

If it's substantially lighter and not-so-shiny, it could be counterfeit.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:49 PM on October 22, 2004

It is quite light, and it is dull, not nearly as shiny as many others. Hmmmm!
posted by luriete at 1:35 PM on October 22, 2004

I used to look through quarters collected in some laundry machines my family owned for silver ones - 1964 and prior. They're easy to find - the reeded edge doesn't show the cupro-nickel sandwich; rather it's tarnished silver.

I forget when the Hunts cornered the silver market - was it 1982? but I think I only saw 2 or 3 of them after that. Before, they were pretty plentiful and I set them aside in a large jar, which I believe we still have kicking around somewhere.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:12 PM on October 22, 2004

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