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Barber Quarters Excel
By Steve Roach

On July 31 Heritage Auction Galleries offered the Steven Duckor Collection of Barber quarter dollars. While incomplete – it was missing two key issues: the 1901-S and 1896-S coins – it more than made up for that deficiency with the originality and quality of the rest.

The Barber quarter dollar series is a popular set for collectors and can be completed in About Good (for the keys) to Extremely Fine (for the common issues) condition for around $10,000. The undisputed key is the 1901-S quarter dollar, with a low mintage of just 72,664, and the 1896-S and 1913-S coins are noble semi-keys.

By all accounts the Duckor Collection was exceptional and many of the coins display impressive toning and have an appearance best characterized as "original," meaning that the coins were not dipped bright white.

Certified Acceptance Corp. agreed that the coins represented unusually high quality and placed its green sticker on nearly all of the coins. This sticker means that CAC agrees that the coins are good for their certified grade.

The most expensive coin was the 1913-S quarter dollar, graded MS-67 by PCGS, which realized $60,375. The sole coin graded PCGS MS-68 realized $86,250 in May.

When a collection like this crosses the block, often the sum is more than the parts, and the attention that the group brings lifts even the coins on the lower end of the value scale. Most of the issues sold for stronger prices than recently seen for comparable coins.

For example, the least expensive coin, an 1893 quarter dollar graded PCGS MS-65 with a CAC sticker sold for $1,725 – substantially above the $1,300 or so that this issue has sold for recently at auction. The other coin that sold for $1,725, a 1908 piece graded PCGS MS-66, sold for an amount consistent with expectations. That it was one of the handful of pieces lacking a CAC sticker certainly did not help its cause. Perhaps collectors were wondering what latent deficiency caused it to not receive a sticker?

In the Duckor Collection, collectors responded to a group put together with an eye toward quality and originality, and bidders were prepared to pay a premium for that connoisseurship.


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