Thanks To An Experiment Gone Wrong This Georgia Coin is Worth $10,000

Source: Freepik / Coin Talk

We all know quarters are worth 25 cents, right? A coin dealer or collector may surprisingly disagree. Turns out, the U.S. Treasury likes to occasionally experiment with their coins, and when they do, invaluable coins are released into circulation. Here is how to tell if you are one of the lucky owners of a $10,000 quarter …

The Quarter Origin Story

When you think of a quarter, you probably think of the silver coin with the George Washington bust. Fun fact, this coin was first issued by the U.S. Mint in 1932 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth and was composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel. But before this popular quarter, there were earlier quarters and they were a lot more valuable.

Source: USA Coin Book

From 1796, when the quarter was 1st minted, quarters were actually made mostly (90%) from fine silver. There were six quarter designs in this era including the draped bust, capped bust, seated liberty, barber, Isabella quarter, and the standing liberty quarter. In 1964, the Mint stopped using silver to save costs and the coin composition experimentation began.

A Quarter For Every State

In 1997, the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act, inspired by the Royal Canadian Mint program of 1992, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 1st 1997. This paved the way for the U.S. Mint to release a quarter to commemorate each of the 50 states, 5 quarters a year.

Source: CoinWeek

Most states selected final designs from state citizens either through an advisory group or through a state resident voting process. The first 5 state quarters were minted and released in 1999 and the first states being Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut. But something else was happening in the U.S. Mint at the same time.

The Georgia Quarter Experiment

Around the same time the 1st batch of state quarters were coming out, the U.S Treasury were experimenting with a new composition for coins. They were working on a gold-tinted metal alloy and decided to use the Georgia state quarter to test it out.

Source: U.S. Mint

There were just under 940 million Georgia quarters minted before the Treasury decided not to proceed with the gold-tinted alloy for their quarters. The alloy was, however, eventually used for the Sacagawea Golden Dollar which was issued from 2000 to 2008. This left the Georgia quarters as the only quarters in the country with a gold-tinted alloy.

The Real Value of a Georgia Quarter

Because of the uniqueness of the Georgia quarter, it immediately became a sought after collector’s item. Many who came across one, took them out of circulation and kept them for posterity’s sake, while others began trading them in the coin collection market.

Source: Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

Very quickly, the value of the Georgian coin, especially ones that had errors, went from 25 cents to thousands of dollars per coin. Some coins are said to have been sold for up to a whopping $10,000, with a Georgian quarter reportedly being sold for $7,200 as recently as late 2022. So how can you tell if you have one of these super valuable quarters?

Go For Gold

If you have a quarter whose back says ‘Georgia 1788’ at the top, with a big peach in the middle, and ‘1999 E Pluribus Unum’ at the bottom, you might just have a treasure on your hands. But beyond having the right symbols and words, you need to take a close look at the color.

Source: MUILLU/Unsplash

Similar to the Sacagawea Golden Dollar, the Georgia quarter should have a gold or greenish tint or hue. If you have a purely silver coin, you might have a dud. These are the only quarters with this hue, so lining it up with any other quarter will help you ascertain if yours is just a little more gold and a lot more valuable.

The Heavier The Better

Beyond the color, you also need to consider just how heavy it is. You see Georgian quarters were struck on experimental planchets and weigh slightly more than your regular quarters. But the difference in weight may be too small for you to tell by weighing them in your hand.

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If you are able to get your hands on a coin counting scale, you will be able to get an accurate reading. Now, normal copper-nickel clad quarters weigh 5.67 grams. The unique Georgia quarter on the other hand weighs slightly more, at between 5.9 grams and 6.3 grams. And then there is the thickness.

How Thick Is It?

Now when it comes to the Georgia quarter’s thickness there is some debate. While officially, we are told that the Georgian quarter has the same thickness as other quarters at 1.75mm in thickness, there are many who doubt it.

Source: Ag PIC/Unsplash

And they do have a point. It is a heavier coin and the diameter is the same as all other quarters at 24.66mm so some people think the extra weight must appear in the thickness of the coin. If there is a difference it is a tiny one so you might need to get your magnifying glass out to see it.

No Copper Here Friends

Now let’s get back to looking at the colors. Normal quarters usually have a copper stripe on the rim of the coin. This is due to the copper inner layer of the coin and the copper-nickel alloy outer layer.

Source: Annie Spratt

But as we have already discussed, the Georgia quarter was not made with a copper-nickel alloy. This unique coin was made with a gold-tinted alloy. So if your coin in question does not have a copper stripe along the rim, it might indeed be a Georgia quarter.

Smooth To The Touch

You might not know or care about this little fact, but modern day quarters have 119 reeds. This is what makes up the ridges encircling the coins. But the Georgia quarters have an error, and this is an error you may not need equipment to see.

Source: Gwennie1103/Coin Community

Because of the experimental planchet that was used to produce these coins, Georgia quarters lack some or even all of the reeds making up the ridges. So run your hand over the rim of your quarter. If it feels smoother than your regular quarter, you might have a valuable Georgia quarter.

The Rim That Holds It All Together

Beyond the ridges of the coin, valuable Georgia quarters also have another peculiar attribute with their rim. Now this attribute is again due to an error as a result of using an experimental planchet. And you might be able to feel this attribute in your hands.

Source: BadApple/Coin Talk

A rare and valuable Georgia quarter will have a slightly thicker than normal rim. This might look and feel like the rim is slightly more raised than a normal quarter. This is something you may be able to feel or that you might see using a simple microscope.

Get Your Coin Certified

Now if your coin has checked off all the attributes we have discussed, you very well may have a valuable gem on your hands. But before you get too excited and start planning out your $10,000, it’s always a good idea to take it to the pros first. Take a second and look for a reputable coin dealer in your area.

Source: GreatCollections

These people are experts and will be able to verify your coin and should be able to give you a quote of how much you can expect to get from it. They might even buy it from you on the spot. You can also take your coin to a coin grading company and get it certified, which will really help you in your selling process.

Cash In On Your Quarter

With your certified Georgia quart in hand, now comes the selling stage. Now there are two main groups of people that you can try to sell to. The first is coin dealers. These professionals buy and sell rare coins and are found in many places. However, because their purpose is to resell, they may not give you the best price.

Source: WSB-TV

It might be better for you to attempt to sell your coin at an auction or to a private collector. These auctions may be in person or online on sites like Ebay. Just remember to make sure you get paid before handing over your valuable coin.

Make It A Family Heirloom

But what if you don’t want to sell your coin? Perhaps you are a coin collector, or you just want to keep it in the family and hope that by the time your grandkids sell it, it’s worth a whole lot more. If this is what you want to do, there are some things you should do to keep the coin in tip-top condition.

Source: Safe Albums

If you are a coin collector you probably already know this, but you will want to keep your coin in its own capsule and far away from any potential leaks, dirt or light. Avoid high humidity or any extreme temperatures and keep it away from anyone who might mistake it for any other quarter and spend it.

Break Open That Piggy Bank

So now you know. All quarters are not alike, and quarters like the valuable Georgia quarter may be worth a heck of a lot more than 25 cents. So next time you get a quarter in change, have a closer look at it before you spend it.

Source: Andre Taissin/Unsplash

Or who knows, you might have a Georgia quarter in your possession already. Break out your piggy bank and see if you’ve been sitting on $10,000 all along. If you find one, come back to this article and check through all the anomalies you need to look for and get it looked at by a professional as soon as possible.

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Clare Edis

Written by Clare Edis

Clare Edis is a prolific and imaginative writer known for her captivating storytelling and profound exploration of the human experience through words. Born with an insatiable curiosity, Clare has always had a unique ability to breathe life into her narratives, transporting readers to worlds both familiar and fantastical.

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