Before Hawaii was named the 50th state in 1959, it was a territory,
and before that, it was the independent Kingdom of Hawaii with its own coinage.
In 1883 King Kalakaua I issued dimes, quarter dollars, half
dollars and silver dollars designed by the U.S. Mint’s Charles Barber
and struck at the San Francisco Mint.
When Hawaii became a U.S. territory, these coins were withdrawn
and many were melted. However, the production far exceeded the needs
of commerce and many survive, especially of the 1883 quarter dollar,
of which 500,000 were struck (and 26 Proofs).
Although it resembles a traditional U.S. coin and has strong ties
to regular issue U.S. coinage, the quarter dollar is a type that many
if not most U.S. collectors are unfamiliar with.
That it is listed in A Guide Book of United States Coins (or the
“Red Book”), along with other Hawaiian issues, confirms its potential
for mainstream appeal.
In well-circulated grades the quarter dollar is very affordable,
especially when considering its exotic nature and relative scarcity
when compared with regular issue U.S. coins. For example, Heritage
sold one graded Fine 15 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. for $53 in a Dec.
18, 2012, sale.
Handsome examples can be found for less than $200, such as an NGC
About Uncirculated 58 example that brought $199.75 in a Dec. 2, 2012,
Deceptive counterfeits exist, so take a critical look at
uncertified pieces offered at bargain prices in online auctions and
In most Mint State grades the 1883 Hawaii quarter dollar remains
relatively affordable. Attractive examples abound, like one graded
Mint State 64 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green
Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that sold for $367.78 at a July 14
auction. Both PCGS and NGC combined have had fewer than 1,000
submissions of the coin at this level or above.
At the high end are fewer than 20 examples graded MS-67, which
trade at widely ranging prices. A richly toned example with a green
CAC sticker sold for $4,600 at an April 26 Heritage auction while at
the same sale a brilliant one — also MS-67 CAC — sold for $7,637.50.
Proofs are rare. A Proof 62 example brought $8,225 at a Jan. 10
Heritage auction. One of the finest, graded Proof 65 Cameo by PCGS,
brought $34,500 at a Jan. 4, 2012, auction. ■