BCCS Rarity Surveys


To supplement the Census Studies and help collectors set expectations on how easy or difficult some coins will be to find in certain grades, we also conducted a Rarity Survey, where collectors could offer their opinion of relatively availability of the better date coins. Here they could express how difficult it was for them to find certain coins (or those they have been looking for without success). Rarity Rating definitions are noted below.



The Rarity Surveys got better results than we had originally hoped. Many collectors only expressed opinions on specific grade ranges that they have been actively looking for, and others only on the specific dates that they have an interest in. We had asked people not to just randomly guess on issues in which they had no real opinion.

There were many people that stated that the Rarity Ratings listed in The Complete Guide books by David Lawrence, were mostly still accurate, and only provided opinions for the coins they believed had changed since the books were written.

There were few surprises, and there was a lot of consensus among Rarity Survey respondents. Some dates had minor shifts in ratings, often between R2 and R3, or R3 and R4, but nothing dramatic at all. All in all, the BCCS believes we got excellent results.

The definitions for the Rarity Ratings in these surveys are as follows:

R1: Common date and grade
R2: Better date and grade
R3: Tough date – available, but may require some looking
R4: Scarce – may or may not find at larger shows/auctions
R5: Very scarce – only a few offered for sale each year
R6: Almost never seen – only one or two may be offered for sale in a year’s time
R7: Rare – a single specimen might, on average, be offered for sale once every few years
R8: Unique, or nearly so

Below are the results of the four BCCS Rarity Surveys that were conducted for Liberty Nickels, and Barber Dimes, Quarters, and Halves.

Liberty Nickels Rarity Survey

Barber Dimes Rarity Survey

Barber Quarters Rarity Survey

Barber Halves Rarity Survey


  Barber Coin Collectors' Society      --      Founded 1989      --      Email:   bccs@barbercoins.org