Type I Reverse. A magnificently toned prooflike business strike of the highest order. The quarter dollars of 1892 were manufactured at the Philadelphia, New Orleans and San Francisco facilities. Each location produced coinage bearing the original adopted reverse (Type I), as well as a revised version that appeared later in the year (Type II). The reverses are distinguished in several ways; among them is the visibility of the middle serif of the "E" in UNITED. On the Type I reverse, the eagle's wings are slightly smaller, and the serif protrudes visibly above the left-facing wingtip. On the Type II reverse, the eagle's wings are slightly enlarged for a more dramatic effect, and the serif is now covered. One can remember the sequence by the phrase, "Now you see it, now you don't." In general the Type I reverse issues are less readily located than Type II. The Sunnywood Collection also includes a spectacularly beautiful 1892 PCGS MS66 with the Type II reverse, a "must see" coin that can be found in our "additional pieces" supplemental Registry Set.
Ron Guth: By 1891, the old Seated Liberty design (with some modifications over the years) exceeded more than 50 years of service on some denominations. Thus, in 1892, the Mint introduced the new "Barber" design on Dimes, Quarter Dollar, and Half Dollars. The new design's nickname had nothing to do with hair-cutters, but was named after it's designer, Charles E. Barber. As they had done with previous new designs, the public grabbed up the new coins in large quantities, resulting in many high grade coins today. In fact, the 1892 is the second most common Mint State Barber Quarter according to the PCGS Population Report (as of August 2011), with a substantial lead over most other dates in the series. Not surprisingly, the only date with a higher population than the 1892 is the 1916-D, the last of the Barber Quarters (apparently, some collectors thought it, too, was going to be a rarity).
Collectors of today can choose from a range of nice Uncirculkated grades, with the largest populations occurring in the MS-63 and MS-64 grades. MS-65 and MS-66 examples get a little scarcer, but they are not too difficult to find. In MS-67, the population declines rapidly, with less than two dozen examples in PCGS holders. The finest examples appear at the MS-68 level, where the single finest example is a lone PCGS MS-68+ (this remarkably toned example is illustrated above -- it is one of only three PCGS MS-68+ Barber Quarters in the entire series, with none finer).