What Is a Quarter Made Out Of?

By Jen Philion
U.S. quarters, composition
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Chauncey Davis

The U.S. Coinage Act of 1792 established the dollar as the standard monetary unit for the nation. Quarter-dollar coins, or quarters, have circulated for more than 200 years, although the metals that make up the coin have changed during its history.

Washington Quarters

The U.S. quarter has featured George Washington on its face since 1932. The Washington quarter debuted in 1932 and was made of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.

Metal Value

According to Coinflation.com, the rounded silver value for a 1932-1964 silver quarter was $3.13 as of December 2009.


The Coinage Act of 1965 directed a change in the metal content of quarters, eliminating silver from their production because of a worldwide silver shortage.

Current Composition

The U.S. quarter is currently defined by the U.S. Mint as a cupro-nickel alloy containing 8.33 percent nickel, with the remaining balance in copper.

Other Characteristics

The current incarnation of the U.S. quarter weighs 5.670 grams and has a diameter of 0.955 inches and a thickness of 1.75 mm.

About the Author

Jennifer Philion has been a professional writer and editor for more than 13 years, with experience in print and online journalism as well as marketing and public relations. She has written for "The Sporting News," the "Boulder Daily Camera" and the "Ogden Standard-Examiner" as well as magazines and online sites. She holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Colorado-Boulder.