1897 Barber quarters offer a common piece, two tough dates, and a proof example, which means issues from that year offer something for just about everybody. Of course, for series coin collectors who want one example of each business-strike issue in the series, that means having to pony up a lot of green to buy the coins they need. However, numismatists who only going after the business-strike pieces can forget about having to buy the expensive proof 1897 Barber quarter. That leaves only the 1897, 1897-O, and 1897-S, and these can be had for under $140 combined in a grade of Good.
The breakdown below of mintages and values will help tell more of the story behind the 1897 Barber quarter:
1897 – 8,140,000; $13
1897-O – 1,414,800; $30
1897-S – 542,229; $90
1897 proof – 731; $850
*Values are for coins in a grade of Good-4, unless otherwise noted.
The biggest challenge of the business-strikes, at least in the lower grades, is the 1897-S Barber quarter. With a mintage of 542,229, it is by no means the scarcest Barber quarter (of the business strikes, that honor goes to the 1913-S with a mintage of 40,000). However, the 1897-S is a tough date that represents a significant financial hurdle for many coin collectors.