US Coins

$258,500 price for 1901-S Barber quarter during Gardner auction

A vividly toned 1901-S Barber quarter dollar graded PCGS MS-67 with a green CAC sticker brought $258,500 at Heritage’s June 23, 2014, offering of the Gardner Collection.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the July 14 issue.

Heritage’s auction of the Eugene H. Gardner Collection on June 23 and 24 brought nearly $20 million and was highlighted by hundreds of popular collector coins in high grades. Many of these silver coins were characterized by beautiful toning that resulted in rich kaleidoscopes of color. Among the series that Gardner collected in depth were Charles E. Barber’s quarter dollars of 1892 to 1916. Coin World is highlighting three examples that combined spectacular color and rarity.

Below is the first.

The coin: 1901-S Barber quarter dollar, MS-67 CAC, $258,500

The story: The 1901-S Barber quarter dollar is called the “King of all Barber quarters” and is a tough coin to locate in nearly all grades. Even the most worn examples graded Fair 2 approach $2,000. The Gardner example is one of two coins that Professional Coin Grading Service has graded Mint State 67, with another one certified at MS-67+, and a sole MS-68 piece that is the finest certified. 

According to Heritage that lone MS-68 example brought $550,000 at a 1990 Superior auction. It later sold at Bowers & Merena Galleries’ March 2010 Baltimore Auction for $327,750.

The Gardner Collection’s coin is notable both for its nearly flawless surfaces, described in the catalog as, “blanketed in vivid shades of apple-green, russet, violet, and gray toning that complements vibrant mint luster underneath.”

Gardner wrote that this coin exhibits, “A mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors covers the surfaces of this coin. More than having just casual eye appeal, this coin commands the eye’s attention. I can lose myself in it for long stretches of time. So beautiful it is almost impossible to look away. Great rarity, great strike, great luster, and magnificent colors. This coin has it all.” 

Graded MS-67 by PCGS with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker signifying quality within the grade, it brought $258,500. 

Read Steve Roach's next two Market Analysis posts from the July 14 issue:

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