U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting

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Circulated Barbers Rise
By Mark Ferguson

In step with the five-year-long expansion of the collector base for coins, creating higher demand, the values for circulated Barber silver coinage are creeping higher. For many issues of all three denominations – dimes, quarter dollars and half dollars – wholesale prices dealers pay for inventory are slowly rising.

In most cases these higher values have not risen high enough to justify a comprehensive raising of retail values. However, collectors should be prepared to pay a few dollars more for many of these issues, especially for pleasing, problem-free coins.

Those coins that have problems, such as spots, rim dings and small scratches, should still be available at appropriate discounts, depending on the severity of the problems.

On the other end of the grading scale – gem Mint State and Proof examples – there's no telling what many of these coins will bring at auctions and in private sales. These prices are dependent on who is competing among buyers and on each coin's attributes.

Mint State and Proof coins with mind-blowing original toning and surfaces are likely to bring spectacular prices. This reflects the reduced number of outstanding quality coins showing up on the market for sale. But examples that are a little off-quality or lacking in pizzazz are selling for softer or even discounted prices.

The mind-sets of buyers at both grade ranges differ. Registry collecting has influenced buying habits, and people who can afford great coins normally want the best of the best. Collectors of circulated coins usually have much more limited budgets and are more cost-conscious.

A comprehensive raising of values for circulated coins in Coin Values took place earlier this year, in step with the market, so across-the-boards increases aren't necessary again soon.

Still, wholesale market prices for these coins are gradually rising, so buyers may be asked to pay a few dollars more than listed values to purchase some circulated Barber coin issues.

A few small value increases are scattered within the three Barber silver coinage denominations in the Coin Values pricing section. A few scarce issues, as well as several common coins, are affected.

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