1856-S Seated Liberty Quarter

The mintage of the 1856-S Seated Liberty quarter was 286,000 pieces. Not a small quantity for those times, but still not enough to meet the needs of the coin-starved hard money American West. Virtually all of them were released into circulation, where they served the public for many years.(1)

Naturally, attrition claimed a heavy toll, leaving the 1856-S quarter very scarce today across all grades. Surviving examples are estimated at 350.(2)

The 1856-S isn’t in the spotlight as much as some of the better known rarities in the Seated Liberty quarter series, but price advancements for this particular San Francisco Mint coin have far exceeded those of its common date contemporaries. Check out the value trend charts below.

Do not confuse the 1856-S with its close relative, the 1856-S Large S over Small S. This overmintmark variety is one of the more spectacular coins in United States numismatics and has earned a very high score in the Rare Coins 101 value trend survey.

One good thing about the 1856-S Seated Liberty quarter… with careful budgeting, even a collector of humble finances can afford an example.

Something to look out for: As an eyewitness to history, the 1856-S quarter changed hands extensively during its decades of active duty. Many of the few surviving specimens today have issues detracting from their appearance. Be patient, and insist on a problem-free coin of good eye appeal. Expect to pay more than current price guide listings, but be prepared to reap rewards later.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 350
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 6.3
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
Click HERE to check for availability on eBay**

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1856-S Seated Liberty quarter photos 1856-S Seated Liberty quarter value history
Trendline Avg = 21.68 BETTER
Last updated 4-9-24
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1. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1856-S Liberty Seated Quarter.  Aug 2015 Auction.

2. PCGS.  1856-S 25C (Regular Strike).

**Many very fine coin dealers sell on eBay. At any point in time, there may be over one million search results for United States coins. This includes quite a few of the recommendations on our Key Date Coin List.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a rare coin, eBay is certainly worth a look. For your convenience, the links from this site to eBay are coded to bring up only coins certified by PCGS and NGC.

As is always, always the case, never buy a valuable coin from a seller whose trustworthiness cannot be verified. Learn more about this at our chapter Best Places to Buy Coins, which also has a section on doing business on eBay.

In the interest of full disclosure, Rare Coins 101 receives a small commission anytime someone connects to eBay from this site and purchases something.

Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.