Some Barber Quarter Newps
I have been putting together a set of Barber quarters in circulated grades. My philosophy has been to try to get CAC coins, which is a real challenge for 2 reasons. First, from what I can tell, the majority of barbers have been scrubbed and dubbed (i.e. cleaned and modified), and therefore the kinds of things that CAC will flag for the 'not CAC'. Second alot of these are literally less than $100 in VF and XF. To me this set has been just as much fun as buying coins that are 10 to 20 times more in value, and it has taught me valuable lessons on what collecting should be about (at least for me), and that I don't have to spend enough to help buy a house (as I did with my gold I sold off last year) to have fun and enjoy collecting.
However, virtually no one wants to spend the cost of sending coins of that value into CAC. So this makes PCGS slabbed barber quarters for many of the dates in VF to XF with CAC beans very rare. So what one can do is buy and send them in. I have been lucky in getting some tutoring from Tom Bush on what makes an original worn Barber quarter, so for these cheaper ones, I have been hitting around 80%. The goal is to get a complete set (maybe without the 3 keys), by spending up to a few hundred dollars max per coin in grades of VF to AU within that price range for a given date and mint mark, and if a nice VF comes along, then less if possible, but all having the bean. I started this about 4 years ago and I am around 2/3 finished. The biggest problem is buying online where pictures don't always tell the story. So this means if you buy without the bean, you better be pretty certain, and in many cases I will go back to dealers that I trust what they are doing when they get these in inventory. It is fun and does not cost me an arm, a leg, and alot of Apple Stock to complete.
While the sweetspot grades to me are 35, 45 and 58, I am not trying to get a matched set in terms of look and grade. I am trying to get coins that appeal to me and that CAC agrees with. I like variety that represents great coins in all of the grades, instead of trying to find coins that all look alike. The great thing about Barbers is that they wear well. I can be happy with a gorgeous VF (or even a G8 for the 01S but that still might be too pricy for what I am doing here) as much as I am with an AU58 if it is all there for the grade and not scrubbed and dubbed. The key is each piece will show its individual characters independent of the grade.
So with that here are 3 newps. I will provide some info from the David Lawrence BQ book and the CAC website.
First up 1895-O in AU. This was a hard coin to image and I certainly did not do it justice. Under the light the fields are mirrored, so when you try to image it, all of the cuffs or grunge seems to magnify. I tried many angles of lighting and this was the best I could do. Certainly the brown dull stuff around the rim of the obverse is no where near that apparent viewing with my own eyes. Lawrence says the O mint mark has 4 positions, including two far right over the D. This one is between R and D. The mirrored surfaces suggest that this is an early strike from its die. I bet gem MS coins of this die that are early strike are spectacular.
The CAC population for the 1895-O is 35. 19 of these are in circulated grades, 4 if 55, 5 in 58. This makes it a tough coin. I have seen some others 40s and 50s CACed that I did not like from their online images. So I passed until this one came up.
Next an 1895-S in VF. This has no bean, but I bought from a trusted dealer that knows barbers well. Their images are pretty good, and I have seen alot of his coins at his table at shows. So I have a pretty good idea of how his images will compare to the real thing. I loved this coin from the first time I saw the image. The price was, however too high. This was on ebay where I saved it on my summary page, and ebay vendors can send offers with a better price. He sent me a better offer at a price I was willing to pay last week and snapped it up. If it does not bean then I will be amazed and JA is going to have to tell me why in a reconsideration. The coin is everything it should be for this grade, look at the patina, rich, no signs of a heavy cleaning like parallel hairlines and hairlines that extend from fields into the devices, and grunge in the lettering and stars. Plus the luster under the patina is still present with a nice cartwheel rotating under a strong light. I'd buy a coin like this every time.
Lawrence calls it scare in all grades. The CAC population for the 1895-S is 16. 1 in 30, 1 in 40, 5 in 58, the rest MS. This I hope will be the one that increases that population and I don't see why it should not.
Finally is a 1908-S in VF. This was from the same dealer as the 1895-S. It has been sitting in his inventory since December. It was part of a set he had purchased of worn barbers mostly in VG to XF where most of the coins were beaned when he sent them in, a testament to the collector with a great eye and the dealer who knew that. I had purchased a few of them in 2019, but this was one I did not. The image was not all that flattering. I went to his table at FUN in January and had a look at it, and thought it was better than the image, but the price was just too high (asking XF40 money). He also sent me an offer for this one through ebay at a substantial price reduction last week. An given how hard these are to come by in worn grades CACed, it was time to pull the trigger. It is solid for the grade, but I would put it as a B coin rather than an A, but still nice to have now in my collection.
Lawrence calls the 1908-S very scarce in all grades, and at the time of publication (1994), ranked it 12th in scarcity for the series. CAC population is 44, because these are more pricey they get sent in more. 21 of these are MS grades, 15 in AU, 3 in XF, and 4 in VF. So if you want one with a bean, you have to be patient. As I noted, I knew of this coin for 10 months, and have not found one I liked better yet within my price and grade range in the 4 years I have been working this. So I will take it, gladly.
Happy hunting folks.
Successful transactions with-Boosibri,lkeigwin,TomB,Broadstruck,coinsarefun,Type2,jom,ProfLiz, UltraHighRelief,Barndog,EXOJUNKIE,ldhair,fivecents,paesan,Crusty...
Everyman Bust Quarters
CAC Capped Bust Quarters
CAC Barber Quarters