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Rare Superb Gem 1901-S Barber Quarter Offered by GreatCollections

Rare Superb Gem 1901-S Barber Quarter Offered by GreatCollections

GreatCollections is offering collectors the opportunity to bid on what is perhaps currently one of the rarest non-gold coins struck by the United States Mint during the 20th century. With only four examples graded higher (three MS 67+ and one MS 68+), this MS 67 1901-S Barber Quarter stands as a true American numismatic gem. Interested collectors should note that bidding for this spectacular piece ends on Sunday, January 29, 2023, at 5:39 PM Pacific Time (8:39 PM Eastern).

At the time of publication, the opening bid of $ 160,000 USD represents a great opportunity for the serious collector.

With an unexplainably low mintage of 72,664 struck in San Francisco, the 1901-S stands second only to the 1913-S in terms of initial scarcity. However, the intense circulation for this issuance reduced the surviving population dramatically. Today, while there is a total combined population of 2,274 examples of the 1913-S (and potentially 3,000 surviving coins), there are only 1,428 surviving specimens of the 1901-S. But this figure most definitely contains a number of re-submissions; in all likelihood, here are probably only 1,000 to 2,000 surviving examples across all grade levels. In fact, in MS 66 and above, only seven examples have come to public auction in the past decade.

Many Barber types from the turn of the 20th century suffered extensive wear, and the 1901-S is no exception. Therefore, Mint State examples are quite uncommon. Even counting resubmissions, there are only 45 Mint State pieces, with only one higher than MS 67+.

This particular coin is simply stunning. The blast white surfaces are virtually flawless and have no distracting bag marks. The difference in condition between this piece and one that is graded only slightly higher, yet commands a price over $100,000 more, is negligible. While the last MS 67 sold at auction fetched $258,000, it was slightly nicer and had a CAC sticker.


First issued in 1892, the obverse of Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber’s new quarter was dominated by an updated and elegant Liberty Head motif. Lady Liberty faces left and wears a Phrygian cap, symbolizing freedom, that is adorned with a laurel wreath. The word LIBERTY can be seen on a small band above Liberty’s forehead. The legend IN GOD WE TRUST appears above Lady Liberty and the date (1901) below. These are connected on the left by six stars and on the right by seven stars. This coin’s obverse design, which would later be called the “Barber quarter” after its designer, was also used on three of the major denominations for several decades: the half dollar, the quarter dollar, and the dime.

For the reverse, Barber adapted the Great Seal of the United States. This includes a heraldic eagle with outstretched wings that is holding an olive branch and arrows, in its left and right talons respectively. The eagle is holding a fluttering banner that reads E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out of Many, One”). Above this banner are 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies. Surrounding the main device is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the denomination (QUARTER DOLLAR). The eagles’ wings overlap the legend at the Es in both UNITED and AMERICA. The “S” mint mark is located below the eagle’s tail.

The edge of the 1901-S Barber quarter is reeded.

Bidding ends on Sunday, January 29, 2023, at 5:39:40 PM Pacific Time (8:39:40 PM Eastern).

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To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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  1. The week before 1 sep 91 to 8 sep 91 in Arlington va.i checked my collection working long hours to list grade coins from starts of 1955. Early 60s I sought out the barber q uarters. Was burglarized by by 3 males per neighbors over labor day sep 1991. They cleaned out every thing but sofas, bed table I had 38 1901s most in fine to xf say 5 to 8 in ag to vg..had 25 1913s vg to xf at that time had 1916 double date in xxf Buffalo nickel the eye Ballsharp. Only a proof has that detail …Arlington pd and PA told me to move that thugs would return and kill me if I did not replace the TV sterorecorders..had several 18 over 17 standing liberty quarters in vf to xf…as teen , in college, military I looked , found paid for the quality. Arlington legal know who the thieves were. Stonewalled,blocked my actions as a victim.


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