Barber or Liberty Head Quarter

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What is the Barber or Liberty Head Quarter (1892-1916)?

The Barber Quarter and Liberty Head Quarter are the same thing. The “Liberty Head” moniker came about because the design features the head of lady liberty. The real name of the coin is the Barber Quarter. The Barbers are part of a coin series, including dimes, quarters and half dollars, that were minted beginning in 1892 and ran until 1916. 

Composition of Barber Quarter 

90% silver, 10% copper

Weight of Silver 18084 oz.

Total weight of coin 6.25 grams

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Why are these coins called Barber Quarters?

Barber Quarters got their name because, at the time, the Chief US Mint Engraver was a gentleman by the name of Charles E. Barber.

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What coin came after the Barber Quarter?

After the Barber Quarter was the Standing Liberty Quarter. Minted from 1916 to 1930, the Standing Liberty Quarter is worth .25 cents at face value. The coin features the goddess of Liberty on the obverse and, on the reverse, an eagle in mid-flight. It was designed by Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a renowned American sculptor.

In 1915, US Mint director Robert W. Woolley knew the Mint would soon be replacing the Barber dime, quarter, and half dollar. He believed that US law required a new design. Reality is, it didn’t. Even so, the Barber dime, quarter and half dollar were replaced by 1916.


How much are Barber Quarters Worth?

These coins are worth at least their weight in silver. That’s when talking about circulated coins. Uncirculated coins will have more value. The coin’s melt value is based on the current spot price on silver, which varies.  

The Barbers are a favorite among collectors because of their rarity. In fact, it’s said that most members of the general public have NEVER seen a real Barber Quarter in their life. This adds to their value.

Grading System

There is a general grading system when it comes to looking at coins and assessing their value. This is especially important when looking at older coins, like the Barber Quarter. Below is an outline of the more important grade levels, though there are other grades, including “gem uncirculated.” This is a simple overview.   
  1. Poor – This is the first level. It’s a base or foundation. All coins are poor or better. This coin would be barely recognizable. You won’t be able to read anything on the coin and the image isn’t recognizable either. 
  2. Fair – When a coin is in “Fair” condition the rims are well worn. The image may have some outline to it but the words are generally illegible. 
  3. About Good – Things start to get better at this level in the grading system. Here you may see some outlining in the lettering. The image may be slightly more visible.
  4. Good – If the coin is “Good,” it means the coin has a readable inscription and image. For example, you should be able to see the word “Liberty,” even if its just a light tracing. You should also be able to read the date of the minting. 
  5. Very Good – The next level for coin collectors is “Very Good,” meaning the inscriptions should be visible but plain. 
  6. Very Fine – The next level is “Very Fine,” meaning the word “Liberty” is a bit more visible. 
  7. Extremely Fine- The next level up is “Extremely Fine,” this level has a much higher value than previous levels. In this level the word “Liberty” will not only be more legible than in previous instances, the lettering should be rather sharp. 
  8. MS 60 Uncirculated – The next level delves into the uncirculated versions of the coin and is aptly named, “MS 60 Uncirculated.” This means the coin lacks any sign of wear. The coin has luster and isn’t completely dull or flat, but it may also have stains, abrasions or marks on the surface, meaning it isn’t completely perfect.  
  9. Perfect Uncirculated – This is the most perfect coin. This is a coin without any flaws. It is perfect and looks brand new.

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Can I sell my Barber or Liberty Quarter?

Yes. Barber Quarters, aka Liberty Quarters, can be bought or sold, but you’ll want to work with a broker that knows these coins and their value.

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