Years: 1956 – 1964
Cherry Pickers Designation: FS-25-19XX-901 (A.K.A. FS-901)
In preparation for minting the first Washington quarter proofs, the original reverse design was reworked to strengthen certain aspects of the reverse design. This was the first ever design change for the reverse of the Washington quarter and it created what we call the B reverse type or variety.
This B reverse design was only to be used for minting proof quarters, and it was up until 1956, when a decision was made to use retired proof reverse dies for minting business strike quarters in Philadelphia in order to cut production costs during a time when the US Mint was undergoing major cost cutting measures, including the closure of the San Francisco Mint.
As such, a 9 coin series was produced from 1956 to 1964 in Philadelphia for business strike quarters which were minted with the proof reverse design. This variety is known as the Type B Washington quarter.
There are loads of information and resources on these proof reverse business strike Washington quarters. I will provide links at the bottom of this post, but for now the purpose of this post is to introduce the differences in both Reverse A and B designs and to help give you the tools you need to find the rarer proof reverse business strike Washington quarters.
The first pick up point is a noticeable separation between the E and S of STATES in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at the top of the proof’s reverse design. Below are some photos that help illustrate the difference in this spacing between the A reverse and the B reverse.
The next pick up point, moving from top to bottom of the quarter reverse is the arrow tips that end just before the leaf to the eagle’s right (viewers left). On the Business strike coin the tip of the top most arrow will come to a point that ends just above the tip of the leaf to the left of it. One the proof design the top most arrow tip ends at a point that is now below the leaf tip to the left. In fact the arrow tip almost doesn’t end at all and looks like it may come to appoint underneath the leaf.
The third pick up point is the tip of the leaf that terminates just above the A in DOLLAR at the bottom of the design. On the business strike reverse design the leaf is somewhat mushy and on most quarters its so mushy you really don’t even see it. But on a well struck business strike reverse the leaf will be visible and there will be a space between the tip of the leaf and the top of the letter A. However on the proof reverse design the tip of the leaf actually touches (there is no space) the top of the letter A.
A forth pickup which should not be used exclusively is that between the business strike and proof designs the eagles tail feathers were strengthened and therefore show up better on the proof reverse. The reason this is not a conclusive pick up though, is that on a well struck business strike reverse the tail feathers can actually strike up quite strong and give the impression of a proof reverse’s feathers. So the top three pick up points are required to prove a proof reverse business strike Washington Quarter.
Below are some useful resource lings to use when researching Reverse Proof Business Strike Washington quarters
A resource for collectors of Type-B Reverse Washington Quarters – Washingtontype-b.com