Featured Introducing My 3 Coin Barber Type Set

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Catbert, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Catbert

    Catbert Evil Cat

    Barber/Liberty Head Type Set

    I wish to introduce my 3-coin type set, but also to provide some additional information concerning these coins.


    As many collectors know, the Liberty head dime, quarter, and half was minted from 1892-1916 and replaced the tired 50+ year-old seated liberty design for the same denominations. Initially, it was thought that a competition among the nation’s top 10 artists would produce compelling designs, but these artists complained about the insufficient compensation, legal restrictions, the limited timeframe to comply, and thus declined to participate. Thus, in response, the Treasury invited the general public to submit designs and some 300 entries were received of which only two were worthy of consideration. The Mint Director considered the contest a “wretched failure” and he then directed his Chief Engraver, Charles Barber to complete the task. This may have been the game plan all along with Barber being one of the contest judges (see Walter Breen in his Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, pg 322 referencing Taxay).


    In Cornelius Vermeule’s opinion of the Barber design “The heavy profile, solemn eyes, thick jaw, and massive neck of the statue [“Republic” by Daniel Chester French, see below image] were absolutely in harmony with what Charles Barber had created for the coinage in the year of the (1893) fair’s opening.” More on the statue here: http://wendycitychicago.com/a-worlds-fair-moment/


    Vermeule continues “….no series has stood the wearing demands of modern coinage so well as the half dollar, quarter dollar, and dime…..Liberty’s cap, incised diadem, and wreath of laurel were designed to echo all the depth and volume of her Olympian countenance. These classical substances are offset, almost literally, by the sharply rectangular dentils of the raised rim and by the strength of the 13 six-pointed stars." Vermeule provides other design compliments and can be seen in his excellent book “Numismatic Art in America” (2nd edition) (pg 86-87).

    I have read amusing criticism regarding the design: the mannish depiction of Liberty, the scorpion like cap, and the reverse eagle splayed-like as if awaiting dissection. I think there is truth in those descriptions, but nonetheless, the design has certainly grown on me!


    Here is my new dime (PCGS MS65 CAC). As a type collector who enjoys colorful toning, I was attracted to the icy blue seen throughout, especially on the reverse. I also like the repunched 8 in the date and the die crack beginning at 2:00.


    The quarter (PCGS MS65 CAC) is distinctive because of the incredible hulk like green shown on the obverse. Maybe there is a genetic connection with the comic book superhero? I think it is rare to find green toning on classic coinage.


    My half dollar (PCGS MS64+ CAC) was obtained at the last winter FUN show and, when considering the reverse toning, seemed to match well with the quarter. Two other aspects of the coin were compelling. First, the coin being made in San Francisco in the year of the great earthquake that burned up the city (leaving the mint largely intact due to employee efforts and building design foresight).

    Secondly, I appreciated the original surfaces that have fortunately been retained on my example. NGC’s David Lange has stated: "Uncirculated Barber half dollars can be extraordinarily beautiful when well preserved, but sadly most have succumbed to careless handling over the years. The perceived aesthetic value of toning has been subject to shifting tastes within the collecting community, this natural patina being prized by one generation and reviled by the next. As a result, many Barber halves have been cleaned with varying degrees of skill and may show hairline scratches or a loss of luster."


    Final thoughts

    It so happens that these three coins have come from the same dealer who happens to be a member here – Tom Bush. If you haven’t considered him as a reputable and ethical source for excellent coins, I think you should. Additionally, the photos were taken by Tom (dime) and the other two by another member here, brg5658. Unlike some photos by others, these accurately reflect the coin when seen in person. They both have great talent and I would recommend either for your coin pic needs.


    I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and my three colorful Barber coins!
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
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  3. geekpryde

    geekpryde Husband and Father Moderator

    Awesome write-up. This needs to be a featured thread.
    mlov43 and spirityoda like this.
  4. LionelR

    LionelR Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for the introduction, beautiful pieces! I also appreciate the detailed and informative write-up.
  5. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

    Beautiful Barber type set! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your write-up as well. I enjoy these types of threads.
  6. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    How'd I miss you at FUN, Cat? Met Tom (as well as a few others) though. Beautiful coins and a most marvelous intro to your set of Barbers.........:)
  7. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder

    3 superb coins and an enjoyable write-up, thanks for posting it!
  8. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    awesome coins dude. :blackalien:
  9. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    opps double post. :blackalien: erase please.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  10. rzage

    rzage What Goes Around Comes Around .

    Dang Dan , I love my Barbers but they pale next to yours . The dime is an excellent new pickup I don't believe I've seen . Nice writeup to go with your coins . Can't wait for the next group . Also Mary is one of my favorite statues in a city loaded with great artwork , I just wish the original wasn't destroyed by fire as she'd probably be my favorite . Thanks for including her .
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
    Catbert likes this.
  11. Tom B

    Tom B TomB Everywhere Else

    This is a terrific write-up and thread. It should be read by all who have an interest in Barber coinage. The three coins you picked up over the years from me were all coins that I adored quite a bit and would welcome the chance to find similar pieces in the future.
    rzage likes this.
  12. Duke Kavanaugh

    Duke Kavanaugh The Big Coin Hunter

    Great post for GREAT COINS

    Thanks Catbert
  13. Coinchemistry 2012

    Coinchemistry 2012 Well-Known Member

  14. mark_h

    mark_h Somewhere over the rainbow

    Beautiful three coin set.
  15. maximk1

    maximk1 New Member

    Beautiful coins. Love Barber design!
  16. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    Love the coins.

    Love the history of the designs that you shared with us.
  17. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Great write-up and outstanding set! The dime is my favorite, the blue toning is great.
  18. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    very attractive.

    Now to finish the sets

  19. mralexanderb

    mralexanderb Coin Collector

    A beautiful set for starters! Great color on the dime and the others aren't too shabby with their CAC acceptance. Good going there, CatB.
  20. joecoincollect

    joecoincollect Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't be happy with just a barber type set. I like to collect good looking barber coinage. However, since barbers are quite expensive in circulated grades for low budget buyers like myself (even barber dimes are not cheap for me in xf and up), I take what I can get. After your post, I was left wondering how much you paid for each coin. It's kind of personal I guess, so maybe you could provide a range or something. It always helps to have some more data for my dream coins!
    maximk1 likes this.
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