Coin Values Moving with Precious Metals: Up-Dated 2/19/2024: Gold $2020 | Silver $23.06


1904 Quarter Value

Using a procedure of steps define a narrow 1904 quarter value. When determining how much these old Barber quarters are worth, the numerous categories on the chart indicate important factors.

Of note: different mintmarks, which indicate the mint that struck the piece, are significant to collectors. Each mintmark is recognized for varying degrees of scarcity, which is reflected in the range of values.

Below is a set of images used to identify mintmarks. The grading section that follows, includes judging condition and further classifying value.

1904 Quarter - Barber Quarter Series - Obverse and Reverse View

Steps Leading to Value:

  • Step 1: Date and Mintmark Variety - To give an accurate description and full evaluation of these old Barber quarters, identify and record the coin's mintmark.
  • Step 2: Grading Condition - Many surviving quarters of the early 1900's are in poor condition. The presence of important design features remaining indicates an above-average coin.
  • Step 3: Special Qualities - Proper handling of your coins is reviewed in order to preserve and maintain value.
1904 Quarter Value
 Condition of Coin
DateGoodFineExtremely
Fine
Mint
State
Barber Quarter Values Updated 2/19/2024
1904 $5.57 $19 $72 $194
1904 O $27 $75 $248 Rare

The above chart list wholesale 1904 Barber Quarter values. Computed from dealer's price sheets and auction records with various mark-up factors figured in.

Step 1: | Identify Date and Mintmark Combination

Popular Mint Variety Quarter

In 1904 production of quarters was reduced to only two mints handling the needs of commerce. Although many were struck and released to circulation, the New Orleans variety has risen in both popularity and value. An important coin in the Barber series to recognize.

See the images below to spot the elusive variety collectors award a premium.

1904-O Barber Quarter

"O" Mintmark on Reverse: New Orleans Mint Struck the Coin

O Mintmark 1904 Barber Quarter

New Orleans quarters minted in 1904 have caught the attention of collectors. Finding nice, pleasing examples to add to collections is particularly challenging. In total, 2,456,000 quarters were produced by the New Orleans mint. A mintage typical of the mint's average annual production. But now they are a sought-after mint variety among collectors, enjoying a strong demand. These vintage quarters are in demand by both date and mint set collectors and those who specialize in the New Orleans issues.

The "O" mintmark on the reverse identifies the issue as being from New Orleans. The area directly above the words "Quarter Dollar" is filled by a large "O." A scarce coin's date and mint variety is verified by the "O" mintmark.

1904 Barber Quarter

No Mintmark on Reverse: Philadelphia Mint Struck the Coin

No Mintmark Barber Quarter

Philadelphia's 1904 quarter is frequently chosen by collectors seeking a nice example to represent the year. This is the year's most widely available, affordable mint variety. Produced in greater numbers than the elusive branch mint issue of 1904; a total of 9.5 million were struck.

These vintage Barber quarters are sought for by both silver investors and collectors. Base silver value is awarded to very worn pieces. A collector is seeking a specific coin with less wear and appealing features clearly visible.

Branch mint issues are identified by their mintmarks, and Philadelphia mint coinage is identified by the absence of a mintmark. If there is no mint mark in the space right above "Quarter Dollar" on the coin's reverse, it was struck in Philadelphia.

Step 2: | Grading Defines a Narrow Range of Condition

Condition is a Key to 1904 Quarter Value

In general, the better a coin's condition of preservation, the faster its value rises. Comparing coins to standards that indicate various stages of wear is the grading process. To determine how much metal has been lost to wear, subtle features in both the high relief and low relief areas are inspected.

Using the images and descriptions, compare your coin, and soon a narrow range of condition is recognizable. When identifying the important design features that determine one grade from the next, a magnifying glass is helpful. When viewed under a single light source, the coin's finer details are brought out by the higher contrast this lighting provides. Start with the coin in mint state condition, helping familiarize the complete design detail.

Mint State Grade

Barber Quarter Mint State Grade

Mint State: Mint State is the highest level of a coin's condition. Defined and described as a coin with no surface wear. Furthermore, the surface's high relief and low areas both have a consistence and matching luster, or shine.

There are fine and major details on both high and low areas of these quarters. A close examination of Liberty's eyebrow, a very high point, reveals no metal wear and a complete rounded shape. A flat spot quickly appears on the eyebrow if worn.

Another feature of Mint State condition, is luster, a delicate and fine texture that reflects light, causing an original minted surface to sparkle and shine. This is what gives these high-quality coins their distinctive appearance. When you tilt a coin that is in mint condition under a light, the luster on Liberty's cheek under her eye radiates with a shine. Any wear received by the coin shows in this area as a dulling and smoothing of the metal. Coins with complete luster over the cheeks and neck are identified as Mint State Barber quarters.

Extremely Fine Grade

Barber Quarter Extremely Fine Grade

Extremely Fine: This quarter is a quality example, with many small details still sharp and clear. At the very highest reliefs of the design, only a small amount of metal has been removed. The coin is a strong candidate for the Extremely Fine grade in its current condition.

Inspect the band in Liberty's hair with letters "LIBERTY" to help grade its condition. Full, deeply impressed letters are an important feature to confirm. Every letter is clear, including the "Y" located at the very top of her head.

Noticeable is the luster that once covered Liberty's cheekbones and jawline is worn and dull. The jaw line does remain defined by a well-rounded contour leading to her neck. Any metal flattening caused by wear is slight and just noticeable.

Barber quarters with fine details are collectibles with a high value and appeal to collectors.

Fine Grade

Fine Grade Barber Quarter

Fine Grade: Any Barber quarter considered for the Fine grade is examined carefully to check the condition of the "LIBERTY" lettering located in the headband above the forehead. This is a particularly prone area to wear, collectors examine to confirm every letter is legible. Letters with clear definition helps to establish the Fine grade.

Using a magnifying glass, confirm that all letters on the headband remain. Two of importance, are the letters "ER" in the highest relief area of the band. If these remain bold, the coin is of high quality.

Note, wear has flattened all the leaf contours within the wreath, giving a smooth appearance to the leaves. In place of the once high and low areas, each leaf is now a smooth, flat surface. The upper row of leaves retain their outlines to qualify as Fine condition.

Collectible quality remains intact, with notable characteristics still present in Liberty's portrait. This coin displays only moderate wear recognized by well-defined cheek and neck areas.

Good Grade

Barber Quarter in Good Grade

Good Grade: Many of these circulated quarters are attractive despite their wear because the remaining details are bold. Good grade is defined by a flattened surface that is smooth as a result of wear.

When inspecting the portrait, notice how smooth it is overall, with none of its original small details. Her portrait has clearly defined edges and is well raised from the fields, which is important to the grade. It is necessary to take a careful look at the edges of the upper leaves atop her head in order to confirm a full separation from the field.

The rim, which is there to protect design elements from wear, has a sharp inner edge. Despite being flattened and lacking inner radial lines, the stars remain complete and distinct from the rim. There is clear premium value for coins struck at Branch mints.

How to Video: Grading Barber Quarters

The video illustrates subtle points of interest in grading. Examine closely the important features of the coin and judge its condition based on the images.

Video, Images and Descriptions | Grading Barber Quarters

Step 3: | Special Qualities | Maintained with Careful Inspection

Handling Collectible Quality Barber Quarters

The last Barber quarter was minted in 1916. Finding one in a box of old coins has potential to become a premium collectible. Although care is needed to maintain its current surface preservation.

Handling now requires a thoughtful approach. Washing your hands and drying them completely first helps eliminate spoiling a coin's surface. To avoid touching open spaces of the coin, hold by the edges.

Resist rubbing any part of the coin with your fingers or cloth. Delicate toning and aging (a special quality) is easily removed in this manner.

Seated over a table helps eliminate dropping coins to the floor. With a light close by, hold coins by the edges and slightly away from your face, breathing onto a coin is a humid condition. Touching your mouth or nose during the inspection is also avoided.

A magnifying glass, 5x is suitable, plus a single light source helps bring out subtle details. As you place coins back on the table, keep each separate. Premium Barber quarters benefit from careful treatment.

Following the above process ensures safe handling. See Safe Coin Storage | Recommendations to review the many ways to house coins of premium value.

As an obsolete series, many Barber quarters are premium collectible coins. A special quality coin needs and benefits when carefully handled.

References

U.S. Mint. 1905 U.S. Mint Annual Report https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/514121
U.S. Mint. Catalogue of Coins of the United States. https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/554591

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