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Tips for Using PCGS Auction Prices Data

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The 1932-D Washington Quarter is an enigmatic scarce date that is most commonly found in the lower grades, rare in higher mint state grades, and a great example for showing off the range of data one can glean on the PCGS Auction Prices portal. Click image to enlarge.

There is probably nothing more relevant in gauging the real-time market value of a United States rare coin than referring to auction price information on a PCGS-graded coin. Since PCGS was founded in 1986, the valuation of U.S. coins has become immensely more accurate and relevant. You have confidence a PCGS-graded coin is both authentic and accurately graded.

Using the PCGS spec number you have the ability to freely use any of the PCGS.com information platforms to research your coin. On the PCGS Auction Prices portal is information on the various U.S. coin denominations as well as many major token and medal issues. For United States coins, the entire date listing for all denominations will populate under the denomination and type category.

Regardless, the search field near the top of the page will accept many search terms, including the PCGS Spec number or even just a date and denomination. But the imputation of more defined search terms will lead to better search results. Let’s use the 1932-D Washington Quarter (PCGS spec number 5791) as a sample coin to illustrate not only how to use PCGS Auction Prices, but also the information that will be revealed to you.

It is interesting to note that the 1932-D and (branch-mint counterpart) 1932-S Washington Quarters are two key issues from the first year of the series and both very difficult to locate in grades of MS65 or higher. As of this writing, nearly three years have elapsed since a PCGS-graded MS65 or better 1932-D Washington Quarter has come on the market. One reason this coin is chosen as the example coin here is to illustrate the incredible juxtaposition of values when talking about just this single key-issue Washington Quarter. Using the PCGS Auction Prices tool, you can see comparative values for the lower, more commonly found examples in grades of, say, PO01 to F15, with more specialized auction pricing data for examples grading MS64+ through MS66.

Let’s look at some of the basics. First, as of this writing, PCGS has graded 7,846 examples of the 1932-D Washington Quarter across all grades. Currently PCGS has graded:

  • G4 to F15: 1,786 total – PCGS Price Guide values up to $140 in F15
  • MS64+ and better: 145 total – PCGS Price Guide values $4,150 and up

For explanatory purposes, we’ll narrow the search range on PCGS Auction Prices to only PCGS-graded 1932-D Quarters from PO01 to F15 for all the sales results in the last five years. Granted that the 1932-D Washington Quarter is a key issue for the series, lower grade coins are usually available in the marketplace in generous supply. Let’s look at some auction prices for lower grade examples…

During the past five years there have been no PCGS-graded 1932-D Quarters grading up to F15 that brought more than $114, except for a single PO01 auction price of $264 for one of the 10 examples of this low ball grade example of the key date. Ironically, no other examples of this date grading lower than PCGS XF45 have sold for as much as this single PO01 example sold at auction in 2021. The single PO01 specimen that fetched for $264 is something of an outlier given the niche collecting speciality of seeking very low-grade coins for low ball sets.

Now, let’s look at the data on MS64+ and better 1932-D Quarters. Currently PCGS has graded 145 total with 36 in MS64+ and just two in MS66:

  • MS64+ (36 graded) – Of the 36 total MS64+ PCGS 1932-D Washington Quarters, there have been 20 total examples sold since 2013. Because the plus grades weren’t introduced until later, we included all those sold since 2013. The low/high auction prices for MS64+ is $1,560 in July of 2018 while the highest is $5,288 from March of 2013; another came close in May of 2019 at $5,520.
  • MS65 (98 graded) – The total MS65 population for this 1932-D Washington Quarter has yet to exceed 100 coins, and there are currently only 11 graded higher than this. Let’s see what the auction prices will tell us about the MS65 1932-D. Of the 125 total MS65 PCGS graded 1932-D Washington Quarters there have been 15 examples sold at auction in the last five years. Interestingly, the lowest price is also the oldest, from June of 2019 for $5,400. That may sound like a relative bargain when compared to four of the 15 examples that have brought $11,400 to $18,000 since January of 2022. Another interesting tidbit is that of the 125 total auction appearances for MS65 coins, just 15 of 125 (or only 12.5%) have come up for auction.
  • MS65+ (nine graded) – Of the nine total MS65+ 1932-D Washington Quarters (currently graded) just three have sold at auction since March of 2020. The three auction prices for these coins have ranged from $16,200 in an April 2021 auction to $29,375 just three months later in July 2021 at another sale.
  • MS66 – (two graded; finest known) – Only one example was graded until sometime after 2010, with the second of the two being a mostly brilliant white specimen and the first graded example a multicolored toned piece. The auction prices for MS66 PCGS 1932-D Washington Quarters are quite interesting. The single toned MS66 coin sold in 2001 for $89,125. This same coin traded yet again in April 2008, when it brought $143,750. The next auction appearance of a PCGS-graded MS66 1932-D Quarter wouldn’t occur until June of 2015, when the brilliant, white example sold for $82,250. Since 2015, each of the two MS66 1932-D Washington Quarters has made a single auction appearance. In January 2018, the white example sold again for $74,400 and the toned specimen sold again in March 2020 for $64,500.

Where will the market prices on the 1932-D Washington Quarter or any other coin head in the months or years ahead? While you can’t predict the future, you can use the amazing wealth of data on the PCGS Auction Prices portal to learn more information about coin prices of the past and present.

Coin Collecting: Basics Washington Quarters (1932-1964)