1896-S Barber Quarter

The Liberty head quarter design of Mint Engraver Charles Barber began production in 1892, hence its common name, the Barber Quarter. The design continued until 1916.

There are the undisputed “Big Three” in the Barber Quarter series: 1896-S, 1901-S, and the 1913-S. All three have outstanding records of value increases over a long period of time and made the cut for the Key Date List of recommendations.

There are some curious facts surrounding the 1896-S. In most grades, it is the lowest priced of the three, despite parity in survival numbers. That’s because of its mintage of 188,039, only 2000 estimated examples are extant today, for a 1.06% survival rate. The survival rates for the 1901-S and 1913-S are 2.75% and 6.25% respectively.(1)

The high attrition for the 1896-S may have occurred because it was issued during a time when collecting coins by mintmark was still a novel idea. Most of the 1896-S quarters entered circulation with little notice and remained there until they perished or were lost.(2)

Years later, interest in collecting by mintmark had expanded greatly. When word spread that only 40,000 quarters were struck by the San Francisco Mint in 1913, hobbyists quickly culled the 1913-S from circulation. Thus, a much higher percentage of 1913-S quarters were saved, relative to the 1896-S.(3)

The 1896-S Barber quarter is a wonderful acquisition in any grade with promising price potential. Problem-free examples with good eye appeal are especially alluring.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 2000
? 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: 4.6
? 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.
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1896-S Barber quarter images Price trends 1896-S Barber quarter
Trendline Avg = 12.51 CLASSIC RARITY
Last updated 4-9-24
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1. PCGS.  Barber Quarters.

2. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1896-S Barber Quarter.  Mar 2020 Auction.

3. Heritage Auctions.  Fabulous Premium Gem 1896-S Quarter.  Oct 2008 Auction.

**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.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.