Mintage 96,0000 Key Date
The 1861-S Quarter Dollar is a significant condition-rarity in high grades. The mintage of 96,000 coins is small, but not low enough to account for the rarity of this date. Rather, the lack of high-grade examples can be attributed to the distance between the San Francisco Mint and collectors. Unless the coins were saved and preserved before they entered into circulation, they simply wore down as they travelled east. The complete lack of Mint State examples confirms this to be the case. The best that collectors can hope for today is to find a clean, original, problem-free example. That, by itself, will be difficult enough.
Frog Run Farm Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 1/2006:365, $32,200