iccoins's Blog

02 Dec 2018

Learn Your Types: Barber Quarter

Coins | iccoins

The Barber Quarter, also known as the Liberty Head Quarter, was minted between 1892 and 1916 and was preceded by the Seated Liberty Quarter and was succeeded by the Standing Liberty Quarter. These coins were designed by Charles E. Barber, hence the name Barber. The reason they are also known as the Liberty Head Quarter is because the head on the obverse is that of Lady Liberty. A common complaint about this coin is that many believe the portrait looks much more like a man than a woman. Many would be led to believe that is Mr. Liberty, but it is not. The coin weighs 6.25 grams and is composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. It has a diameter of 24.3, all the same as the previous Seated Liberty series and the Standing Liberty Quarters. These coins have the same obverse and reverse design as the Half Dollar and Dime of the time, both which were also designed by Charles E. Barber. In 1892, the coin has two different varieties, one with a larger eagle and one with a smaller eagle on the reverse. The coins were minted in Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans, and San Francisco. All proof coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint. This series is generally low on errors, as the machinery for striking the coins were greatly improved.  

Every coin is special in its own way, whether it is an extreme rarity or just something that has been in the history of your family for years.  

Mint Locations 

No mint mark – Philadelphia 
D – Denver 
O – New Orleans 
S – San Francisco 

Key Dates 

There are some valuable key dates in the Barber Quarter series. The 1892-S is a semi-key date, with a mintage under one million. The 1896-O is another semi-key date, even though it has a much greater mintage. The first scarce Barber Quarter is the 1896-S, where less than 200,000 were struck. These are worth over $10,000 in Mint State condition. The 1897-S is another key date, with a mintage of just over 500,000. These can easily be $2,000 in Mint State condition. The 1901-S is an extreme rarity with a mintage below 100,000! High Mint State examples can sell for well over $50,000. The 1909-O is another coin with a low mintage, as with the 1914-S. The 1913-S had under 50,000 struck, but is generally not as valuable as the 1901-S. Despite this, an Almost Uncirculated example can be in excess of $10,000. The 1899 was the coin with the highest mintage over twelve million. 

Should I Get A Barber Half Dollar Graded? 

PCGS and NGC are the leading companies for coin grading in the world, however, it is also rather pricey to have a coin graded. If you have a higher grade example or a key date, it is valuable to get the coin graded and authenticated because these coins are, unfortunately, commonly counterfeit. Lower grade examples of common dates are not rarities and are generally not necessary to be graded and would often cost more to be graded than its value. 

Every coin is special and individual in their own way and when you learn about a new coin, maybe that will be your next collecting goal! 


Yeoman, R S. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2018 Essential Edition: The Official Red Book. Whitman Publishing, LLC, 2017. 

"PCGS Photograde Online - Estimating Coin Grades Has Never Been Easier." PCGSwww.pcgs.com/photograde/. 

Guth, Ron. "CoinFacts.com - The Internet Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins." CoinFacts.com - The Internet Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins, Collectors Universe Inc., coinfacts.com/. 

"NGC Coin Explorer." Online Coin Catalog Search Page - Coin Explorer | NGC, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, www.ngccoin.com/coin-explorer/. 



Level 6

I'm one of those people that think Liberty looks like a man... ; ) Just my opinion...


Level 4

I am too...Thanks for the comment!

It's Mokie

Level 6

No Adam's Apple, that's the tell. 😊


Level 4

Okay...But Charles didn't need necessarily need to include one even if it was supposed to be a man. :)


Level 7

Yes I just agree with the coin Lady they are underappreciated. No doubt. After reading some books on the Barbers I love there coins but what they did to George T. Morgan was terrible. One book actually has copys of there letters to stop him both father and son. It was so bad he was forced to work out of his apartment and was paid eight dollars a week. I just glad he stood up to them and made America's coin. Again coins are beautiful some sculptures also yes he was talented. Thanks.


Level 4

Interesting story! Thanks for sharing :)


Level 4

I collect everything from Barber (coins and medals), thanks for the information that is very complete. You can also find additional information on the website of the "Barber Coin Collection Society": http://barbercoins.org/


Level 4

Awesome! Thanks for sharing the link. Good luck with your Barber Collection.


Level 6

Bowers' Red Bk on Barber coins is an excellent resource. Barber coins are under-appreciated, esp the half dollars.


Level 4

Thanks :) I actually think the quarters are more under-appreciated, but the halves also are.

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