Collecting Liberty Seated Quarters

Collecting Liberty Seated Quarters

Collecting Liberty Seated Quarters

Half dimes, Dimes and Half dollars are all great Liberty seated coins but none as rare as a Liberty Seated Quarter from 1838 to 1891. The Mint State quarters that are dated before 1853 are rare due to a lot of them being melted down for their metals like silver which had risen above the face value of the coin. This problem was only fixed in 1853 when the coin's weight was brought down to solve the problem. This fix was especially true for New Orleans pieces but there were a few that were issued in the 1840s. These 1840s coins were found only a few years ago when a great number of them were excavated in the city's downtown area not that far from the Mint. the coins of course were blackened; they had been down there for almost a century and a half. For the Most part New Orleans quarters are rare when in MS-63 or higher grade. The San Francisco Quarters only arrived in 1855 also the Carson city quarters started in 1870 those go from either scarce or very rare in a higher grade the 1870-CC No Arrows is very uncommon with only a few actually known to the public. Any Liberty Seated Quarters after 1874 are readily available all the way up to 1891 which was the last year for the series. The 1879s and onward had low circulation strikes ending up in them being very popular with collectors at that time. Also at the same time they were very well publicized making them. Because of all that 1879 to 1891 are very easy to find in a grade of MS-64 or higher. The Liberty Seated Collectors Club calls together a meeting place for specialists who have submitted articles that talk about new discoveries and exchange information about the coins. What is considered the standard text for this is the “The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Liberty Seated Quarters” by Larry Briggs in the book it gives each date and mintmark  a number like 1,2,3,4 etcetera for the different obverses. He also gives letters starting with A this is for Different reverses an example of this is 2-A of 1861 this pairs the second obverse of that year with the reverses. If you put into proportion some larger mintages the relatively few die pairs that are given. The Gobrecht Journal has published many articles about quarters over the years. The older articles are mainly useless due to the studies that soon come to follow them and change information we now know. An article named “Availability of Liberty Seated Quarters By Grade”  by John W. McCloskey, which appeared in the Gobrecht Journal on march 1981 went out to survey the public appearance of Liberty Seated Quarters as it was advertised in Coin World during the era. It had an interesting view on what was scary at the time.  The sample was only able to cover a short duration of time  and yes the Mint State coins did see other appearances at other venues but the data shows that the mint marks were not and are still not that easy to come by and sometimes not available at all. Today reports given by the PCGS and NGC give more information that has to be very carefully looked at because lower grade common coins can have fewer listings making them appear rare. "Gradeflation" complicates things which have raised coins from a AU to a lower range of Mint State. Coins can be submitted more than one time which has made many coins once MS-63 and 64 now be MS-65s and sometimes higher. This makes it impossible for a scientific analysis of the market however dealers and collectors have been siding these coins for many years and know the general range of the coins. 

Being A Smart Buyer

This advice Parallels with other coin series so keep that in mind. Using the number on the certified holder as your starting point and then check the coin for the sharpness of the strike. Sometimes the strikes will be typically weak for a coin in that case buy the sharpest you can regardless if it is somewhat weaker. If the issue is known for having harder and sharper struck coins, then look for those. Next is to find a coin with good eye appeal in any grade ranging from G-4 all the way to MS-65 and even past that. Some coins can be in the same grade and be ugly or even just normal but you’re going for the stars of that grade. If you follow these rules/tips then you're on the right path to a quality collection no matter how much money you put into it. Around 90% of other buyers will just look at the grade and that's it. The truth is that a MS-63 that is sharply struck and looks more attractive is more desirable the a MS-65 that is lightly struck and unattractive.

Back to blog