The United States Mint held a competition to select new designs for the quarter, half dollar, and dollar coins to celebrate the Bicentennial of American Independence. The competition drew nearly 1,000 entries from around the country competing for the honor of having their design appear on a circulating coin, as well as a $5,000 prize.
Jack Ahr of Arlington Heights, Illinois won the competition for the design of the 1976 Washington Quarter (Buy on eBay). His reverse design features the image of a Colonial drummer boy along with a lit torch surrounded by thirteen stars. The inscription “United States of America” appeared above, “Quarter Dollar” below, and “E Pluribus Unum” to the left.
The obverse of the coins carried a dual date of “1776-1976”. Notably, no Washington Quarters dated 1975 were minted. All coins struck in 1975 and 1976 carried the dual date and bicentennial design.
The Bicentennial or “Drummer Boy” Quarters were produced for circulation by the Philadelphia and Denver Mints in large numbers. Many members of the public saved the coins from circulation due to their different design. The San Francisco Mint produced a clad proof version of the coin for inclusion in the 1975 and 1976 Proof Sets. Special 40% silver proof and uncirculated versions were also produced at San Francisco and sold in three coin sets, which included the specially designed dollar, half dollar, and quarter dollar coins.
The regular design for the Washington Quarter was resumed in 1977.