The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Oct. 20 issue.
The 1901-S Barber quarter dollar has a reputation as the rarest regular issue 20th century coin, with a low mintage of 72,664 pieces. Most examples today are in low grades and the issue enjoyed heavy circulation. While collectors benefit from having a wide-range of well-circulated examples to select from, with many in grades of Fair and About Good, the coins often have impairments such as cleaning or damage. Mid-range coins in grades around Fine are scarce.
Here is one of three that represent the different price and quality levels within the Good 4 grade:
The coin: 1901-S Barber quarter, Good 4 details, Cleaned
The price: $2,585
The story: At the base level of the Good grade — which can either be Good 4 or Good 6 — are examples that have been cleaned, and the price for these depends on a few factors. First, a collector will look at the quality of the coin and how much detail remains, asking, does it really have full Good details and if so, how full are the details? Next, a collector will evaluate the severity of the cleaning.
If a cleaning is heavy, grading services may label a coin as heavily cleaned. Coins that are whizzed (where a steel brush is used to simulate luster) or polished are considered particularly problematic and those specific impairments are generally noted alongside a details grade.
Here is a Professional Coin Grading Service Genuine, Good Details coin that has been cleaned. The color is not unpleasant, but the surfaces are likely unnaturally glossy. It brought $2,585 at a Jan. 9, 2013, Heritage auction. The price is roughly a $1,000 to $1,500 discount to what a low-end, problem-free Good 4 example would bring.
Read the rest of Steve Roach's Oct. 20 Market Analysis:
1901-S Barber quarter graded Good 4 and sold for $5,875 'nearly perfect for the grade'
Selling price of worn-rimmed 1901-S Barber quarter doubles from 2001 to 2014
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