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HomeUS Coins1892 Barber Quarter Proof : A Collector's Guide

1892 Barber Quarter Proof : A Collector’s Guide

1892 Barber Quarter in NGC PF68UCAM. Image: Stack’s Bowers.
1892 Barber Quarter in NGC PF68UCAM. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

The Barber Quarter, along with the Barber Dime and Barber Half Dollar, debuted in 1892 and revitalized America’s subsidiary silver coinage. The design was the work of United States Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber and features a neoclassic portrait of Liberty on the obverse along with a splayed Heraldic Eagle on the coin’s reverse. Liberty’s head faces to the right and it has been written that Barber adapted his figure from George T. Morgan’s silver dollar head of 1878. This may be true, but key differences in the two portraits are apparent upon close examination. Barber’s Liberty has a more defined jawline, a pointier chin, a slight contour of the forehead, and a more upright eye shape. Morgan’s Liberty also dominates most of the coin’s canvas, while Barber’s Liberty head is skinnier and presented from a slight distance.

Along with the mintage of 8,236,000 business strikes, the Philadelphia Mint produced 1,245 Proof versions for collectors. Proofs were struck with both the Type I and Type II reverses. The Type I reverse accounts for only about 8% of all Proofs and is distinguished by the position of the eagle’s right wingtip, which terminates between the “E” and the “D” of UNITED, covering up the right leg serif of the “E”.

Barber modified the design slightly after the Mint received complaints that the new design did not stack properly. Among the changes, was a repositioning of the wingtip, so that it covered more than 50% of the letter “E”, including the crossbar.

It is estimated that only about 100 examples of the 1892 Barber Quarter Proof were struck with the Type I reverse. These are infrequently encountered at auction and seldom in high grade. Barber Quarter Proofs are typically found with fully brilliant surfaces, but Cameos and Deep/Ultra Cameo coins exist and command premium prices.

The sole finest 1892 Barber Quarter Proof is graded PR69DCAM by PCGS. This coin was offered in a 2008 Heritage Auction in the same grade but in an NGC holder.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Proof Top Population: PCGS PR69DCAM (1, 6/2024). NGC PF68UCAM (7, 6/2024). CAC PR69DCAM (1:0, 6/2024).

  • PCGS PR69DCAM CAC #44552616: (as NGC PF69UCAM CAC #1634130-008) Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2008, Lot 1645 – $46,000. Type II Reverse. Spot below ear apparently removed after the 2008 sale. Finest known. 
  • PCGS PR68DCAM CAC #40275006: Heritage Auctions, February 23, 2021, Lot 3050 – $27,600. Type II Reverse. Custom Simpson Insert. 
  • NGC PF68UCAM #5743089-001: Stack’s Bowers, November 13, 2020, Lot 9108 – $9,600. Type II Reverse.
  • PCGS PR68DCAM CAC #10006359: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2008, Lot 2792 – $20,700; Heritage Auctions, April 17, 2008, Lot 2287 – $27,600; Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4832 – $17,400. Type II Reverse.
  • NGC PF68UCAM CAC #3735583-003: Heritage Auctions, September 4, 2014, Lot 3138 – $14,100. Type II Reverse. Rainbow toning on reverse, splotches of goldenrod toning on obverse.
  • NGC PF68UCAM #1612215-003: Heritage Auctions, February 27, 2003, Lot 6711 – $11,212.50. Type II Reverse.
  • PCGS PR67+DCAM CAC #25698685: “The Kestrel Collection,” Heritage Auctions, May 9, 2024, Lot 4194 – $13,200. Type II Reverse.
  • PCGS PR67+DCAM. CAC #43978373: Heritage Auctions, May 4, 2023, Lot 3864 – $14,400. Type II Reverse.
  • NGC PF67UCAM #6606534-002: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3521 – $4,800. Type II Reverse.
  • PCGS PR67DCAM CAC #11557802: Heritage Auctions, June 2011, Lot 3520 – $8,337.50; “The Cody Brady Collection, Part II,” Heritage Auctions, January 13, 2022, Lot 3382 – $9,600. Type II Reverse.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year of Issue: 1892
Denomination: Quarter Dollar (25 Cents USD)
Mintmark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 1,425
Alloy: 90% Silver, 10% copper
Weight: 6.30 g
Diameter: 24.30 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Charles E. Barber
REV Designer: Charles E. Barber
Quality: Proof Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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