|Diagnostics of genuine coins|
|The two genuine dies|
Die Pair #1
Obverse #1: The 1 is nearly perfectly centered over a denticle, and the 8 is centered over the left side of a denticle. Reverse #1: The boxy-shaped S is above the tops of R and D, and is just slightly closer to D than R.
Die Pair #2
Obverse #2: The 1 of the date is centered over the right side of a denticle, and the 8 is centered over a denticle. Reverse #2: The S is lower (about even with the tops of the letters) and slightly closer to R than D.
|Other key points...|
In addition, it must be noted that both obverse dies became clashed with the reverse dies, leaving a series of horizontal lines within Liberty's ear (clashed from the horizontal lines of the shield on the reverse). On both sets of dies, this appears to have occurred early in the production run, as the majority of 1896-S Barber Quarters have them, perhaps as much as 75-80%. This seems to be unique with the San Francisco mint, as there are no known examples of 1896-P or 1896-O with these clash marks. While one cannot dismiss an 1896-S quarter that does not have these marks (as they didn't all have them), any 1896-S coin with them is almost certainly genuine, and the clash marks can be easily seen, even on low-grade coins.
Another diagnostic that can be used is the edge reeding. In 1896, the three mints used three different collars to impart the reeded edge, and the San Francisco Mint used finer edge reeding than either Philadelphia or New Orleans. As a result, any potential 1896-S quarter that still has the edge reeding present (usually VG or better) can be put side-by-side a P-mint coin and compared. A genuine 1896-S Barber Quarter should have more edge reeds (less width for each reed) than the P-mint coin. If the reeds line up, then you have a forgery.
The single best reference to Barber Quarters, is The Complete Guide to Barber Quarters, 2nd Edition, by David Lawrence (1992, DLRC Press, Virginia Beach VA).
The above detailed information and photos
Copyright © 2005 Barber Coin Collectors' Society -- all rights reserved worldwide.
This page may be printed and distributed as long as Copyright notice is included.
Barber Coin Collectors' Society