Barber Halves

Barber Halves were minted from 1892 to 1915. Barber halves largely went into circulation and stayed there, and most of the dates are available mainly in low grades.

The series contains a notable and rare variety, the 1892-O Micro O (where the mintmark punch meant for a quarter was used by mistake). Most estimates have fewer than 60 Micro O coins known today. There is also rumored to be an 1898-O Micro O, but this has not been confirmed with certainty, and no specimen has been certified by any of the major grading services.

Excluding the Micro O coins, there is no singular key date of the series, but it is loaded with semi-keys. Most mintmarked coins from the 1890s are tough to find in any grade above VG (although the low-mintage 1892-O is always available in high grades, because many nice specimans were saved as the first year of issue). The most difficult coin in the set to find in high grades is unquestionably the 1904-S, and in true mint state, the coin is even rarer than the 1901-S quarter. Despite population reports (which contain numerous resubmissions and some overgraded AU and cleaned AU coins), there are almost certainly fewer than 25 to 30 mint state pieces in existance.

A G to VG set can be readily put together by anyone with some patience, but high grade sets are difficult to assemble. There are many coins that, while not really scarce as dates, are hard to find in nicer grades.

For information on grading Barber Halves, please see the Grading Barber Halves page.

A rarity rating survey was conducted among BCCS members a number of years ago for circulated Barber Halves. The Society updated the survey with much more detailed information, including more specific grade ranges, additional varieties, etc.

Look at the Survey results for Barber Halves:

Barber Halves Census study

Barber Halves Rarity Ratings

Participate now in the Barber Halves Varieties survey!

The best single reference on this series is The Complete Guide to Barber Halves, by David Lawrence, with detailed information about the series, and date-by-date analysis. This is an indispensible reference for the Barber Half collector.

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