In 1934, two distinct obverse hub changes were made to strengthen the the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The new designs are simply named “Medium Motto” and “Heavy Motto.” This created a total of three different design varieties for the 1934 P; The light motto (the original design used on the 1932 issues), medium motto and heavy motto. For the 1934 D issues only the medium and heavy motto designs were used, creating only two possible varieties for the 1934 D.
To begin you should understand the original motto characteristics, also known as the Light Motto. Below are some pictures to help demonstrate this first design. This motto exists on all of the the 1932 P, D and S issues, and on some 1934 P issues.
Notice the Light Motto design letters are very mushy. The middle vertex of the W in WE seems to have no peak and lacks definition.
In the medium motto design you can see the whole thing is strengthened (looks higher in relief) and the peak of the middle vertex in the W of WE is well defined and peaks below the Left and Right legs.
In the Heavy Motto design, again, the whole design is strengthened and the middle vertex in the letter W of WE peaks above the right and left legs
Summary of available varieties
All Three motto designs are available on the 1934 P, however the 1934 D issues only include the Medium and Heavy varieties. And, since there were no quarters minted at San Francisco in 1934, there are no motto design variety examples for a 1934 S.
In 1935 for some reason the mint reverted back to the Medium Motto hub and this was used as the standard for all coinage of that year. In 1936 the mint decided to make the Heavy Motto design the standard for all coins.
Since I am a visual learner I created the below table to help me visualize the varieties possible for the 1934 quarters with regard to the motto design changes.
|Light Motto||Medium Motto||Heavy Motto|
More information on the Motto Design Changes of 1934
- The Washington Quarters of 1934 by David Lange on the NGC website
- Motto Varies in Strength on 1934 Quarters by Tom LaMarre, Coins Magazine
Image Credits for all images: CoinTalk.com Member OcalaFlorida from forum post 1934-P Washington Quarter – Light, Medium & Heavy Motto Varieties
Other information pulled from The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of Washington and State Quarters