[The following excerpt is published courtesy of DLRC Press and its author, David & John Feigenbaum. This information was originally published in 1991 in The Complete Guide Certified Barber Coinage]
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Proof Barber Quarter
There were more than 17 thousand proof Barber quarters minted and, unlike the business strikes, many of these were saved (45%). The mintage for individual dates ranges from 380 to 1,245 and is identical to those of the dimes and halves for all years except 1913 and 1914. 1915 is the lowest PCGS/NGC population with 192 coins listed. Not surprisingly, 1892 with 509 has the highest.
The most common grade is PF 64 (2,211). Like the other Barber series, there are many high-grade coins certified. The table on page 132 shows 603 PF 67, 206 PF 68 and even 15 PF 69! Many of these superb Gems display nice original toning.
Prior to the 1970s, collectors often put proof examples in their sets in place of the Philadelphia business-strike issues. The thinking was that the sets should contain the finest examples. After all, with their sharp details and deep mirror surfaces proofs look better than business strikes. Today proofs are usually collected as a separate set in itself. Proofs of tough-to-find P-mints are sometimes substituted in regular sets, but this is not common.
The value of proof Barber quarters varies little among the dates. The 1913 carries a slight premium because of its value as a business strike. This makes the proofs proportionally more valuable in the lower grades. The 1915 is worth a premium because it is, by far, the scarcest date in the set.
Prices for PF 69 and some 68 coins are theoretical because the populations are so low. It is wise to consult the latest population reports when buying these grades.