The year 1932 still saw the impact of the Great Depression, with America recovering from one of the major economic downturns of all time. The mintage levels of the various denominations, including quarters, had dropped significantly from heights seen earlier in the century. This would not change with the introduction of the Washington Quarter, and all three Mints would strike limited quantities in the first year of issue. That said, the Philadelphia issue stands out with a production of 5,404,000 coins. Most of these went into circulation, although enough uncirculated coins have survived to make the issue available in lower uncirculated grades.
Both the Denver and San Francisco coins, however, are a completely different story. The combined mintage across the two branch Mints is less than one million pieces, and in fact, both issues represent the only coins in the series with a mintage of less than one million pieces. The Denver Mint had a mintage of 436,800 coins, while the mintage at the San Francisco Mint was even lower, at 408,000 pieces. However, the Denver coins appeared to have circulated more widely, as they are at least twice as rare in uncirculated condition compared to the San Francisco coins. Still, neither coin is easy to find, and in gem grade and higher the issues represent true condition rarities.
Counterfeits, as with other rare coins, are also a problem with the Branch Mint 1932 Washington Quarters. Since the Philadelphia issue of the same year is generally available, a relatively large number of circulated coins of that Mint have been seen with an added mintmark. In order to discern counterfeits from genuine examples, care should be taken in examining the mintmark and the area around it. Added mintmarks will often have the wrong style or placement, and the area around the mintmark will often show signs of tooling, such as heat induction when the mintmark was “applied” to the coin. Authentication is strongly advised when buying a 1932-D or 1932-S Washington Quarter especially in higher grades.