The Survival Estimate represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in three categories: 1) all grades, 2) 60 or better, and 3) 65 or better. These estimates are based on a variety of sources, including population reports, auction appearances, and personal knowledge. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Numismatic Rarity converts the Survival Estimate for a particular coin into a number from 1 to 10 (with decimal increments) based on the PCGS Rarity Scale. The higher the number, the more rare the coin.
Relative Rarity By Type
Relative Rarity By Type ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Type. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
Relative Rarity By Series
Relative Rarity By Series ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Series. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
The 1955-D is the lowest mintage 1941 to 1964 Washington quarter. It created quite a stir at the time of issue as collectors and dealers of the day expected the low mintage to drive future rarity and demand. What happened was somewhat the opposite. So many uncirculated examples were saved that today Gem MS65 examples are fairly easy to obtain.
Everything David said is true, but I wanted to expand on the story of 1955-D quarter from the registry standpoint. While MS65 gem coins are fairly easy to obtain based upon all of the BU rolls of 1955-D quarters that were hoarded (as well as the govt. mint sets), locating a coin in a grade above MS65 becomes very, very difficult and in true MS67 grade (by PCGS standards) nearly (but certainly not) impossible. I personally started on the task of locating the finest quality 1955-D quarters I could find for my Washington quarter collection about (29) years ago in 1982/83. At the coin shows back then, while most of the dealers were very busy handling Morgan Dollars, Walkers, Saints, etc., I would search the bourse floor for fresh 1955(d) quarter rolls, BU sets of silver quarters (especially the cheaper 1941-1964 BU sets) and, of course, fresh 1955 govt. Mint Sets. After PCGS started grading coins in the mid-1980's, I expanded my search to purchasing as many PCGS-MS66 graded specimens as I could as well. And, I would spare no expensive; often paying double or even triple the "going rate" for super quality MS66 examples. As every single Washington quarter from 1934-1964 was getting made in PCGS-MS67 grade throughout the years (including a handful of 1934-D specimens which are tough, tough coins in their own right), the last coin to achieve the PCGS MS67 grade became the 1955-D quarter! Of course, 1961-D and 1962-D quarters were among the final "holdout" dates as well, but the "Stella Colbert" collection yielded the 1962-D quarter in PCGS-MS67 knocking out that super tough date in MS67. The 1961-D MS67 came from a major auction as well... an upgrade from an earlier graded specimen that was clearly undergraded... the coin sold for "big" money in the undergrade holder at auction as even dealers who knew very little about the MS Silver Washington quarter series spotted the coin in the auction and bid it up (never thinking though that the coin would fetch "five figures" as an MS67, which it did when it resold shortly thereafter at another auction after achieving the upgrade). The 1961-D remains "pop 1" to this day while the 1962-D is now pop "2" in MS67. Through all this, the 1955(d) remained finest known at PCGS in just MS66 grade until late last year when someone was able to slab a coin into a PCGS-MS66+ holder (pop 1). My personal hunt continued and finally, this past week I was able to slab the 1955-D Washington Quarter in PCGS-MS67! The specimen is a lovely Mint set toned coin with super clean surfaces and a very fresh look. It is hard to explain the feeling of finally reaching one of your big numismatic goals after nearly a (30) year search. Obviously, a feeling of great excitement to be sure. But, also a slightly bittersweet feeling as the "hunt is finally over" and so much about coin collecting to many of us is the thrill of the hunt. Best of luck to everyone else who has also been on the hunt for a 1955-D quarter in PCGS-MS67 these past years, or even decades, and may your journey also end in great success!
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