Question: Dear Frank: What is the difference between the Type I and Type II Barber quarters of 1892? Is it just the Philadelphia quarters or do those from New Orleans and San Francisco come both ways too? I would like to find some of each for my collection. -J.D.
Answer: Dear J.D. Thanks for writing. This is a question that comes close to my heart as I have long been a fan of the Type I and Type II Barber quarters. For many years, only a few of us knew of (or, more likely, cared about) these two varieties and their slight differences, but now more inquisitive collectors value knowledge and obscure information (in all areas of numismatics, not just Barber quarters). This is enhanced by the numerous specialty coin clubs and the wealth of printed material available to today’s collectors. Being familiar with obscure varieties allows one to potentially “cherrypick” a rarity that others may not have recognized. After all, an informed collector is a happy collector!
On the Type I Barber quarter reverse, the eagle’s dexter wing tip (eagle’s right, viewer’s left; the opposite wing is the sinister wing) covers the upright of the E in UNITED, but little else of that letter, with all three serifs on the crossbars of the E plainly visible. On the Type II reverse, that same wing tip covers all but the upper and lower serifs of the crossbars on the E. My own research and years of cataloging experience have taught me that the San Francisco issue is the scarcest, and appears about once out of 30 or so times I flip an 1892-S quarter over while cataloging it. The Philadelphia issue is the next scarcest, probably about one in 25 by my experience, followed by the New Orleans issue, which is only slightly more often seen than the P-mint issue. Also, I typically tend to see higher grade examples of the P and O issues, and lower grade examples of the S-mint variety. Good luck with your search for Type I and Type II 1892 Barber quarters.